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US Farmers Are Being Bled By the Tractor Monopoly

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: As tractors become as complex as Teslas, agricultural equipment manufacturers and their authorized dealerships are using technology as an excuse to force farmers to use the authorized service center -- and only the authorized service center -- for repairs. That's costing farmers -- and independent Repair shops -- dearly. John Nauerth III, a farmer in remote Jackson, under pressure to plant, waited a costly "two or three hours" for an authorized dealer to show up at his farm to plug in a computer and diagnose the problem. Worse, the dealer didn't have the repair part -- and independent repair shops, excluded from the repair monopoly, didn't either. "Right now, you're at the mercy of the dealers," Nauerth said. "Good thing is we figured out a way to get it running with a two-by-six piece of plywood." It's not cheap. In Nebraska, an independent mechanic can replace a John Deere Co tractor transmission. But if the farmer wants to drive it out of the mechanic's garage, a Deere technician must be hired for $230, plus $130 per hour, to show up to plug a computer into the tractor to authorize the part, according to Motherboard. Making matters more difficult, equipment manufacturers and dealers have been consolidating for years, reducing the number of techs and increasing the distance they must travel. Gary Wertish, president of the Minnesota Farmers Union, which supports Minnesota's Fair Repair bill, cited this problem as especially costly. "It can be 50 miles to the nearest dealership," he explained in a phone interview. "If independent repair businesses could do the work, that'd solve a lot of problems, especially in the spring and fall." The report highlights the Minnesota Fair Repair bill that will be debated in the state's House of Representatives in the coming weeks. The Fair Repair legislation is one of many currently in consideration across twenty U.S. states. It "requires that manufacturers of equipment with embedded electronics -- everything from a tractor to an iPhone -- must make available repair manuals, parts and tools to independent repair businesses that it makes available to dealerships and other authorized repair businesses," reports Bloomberg. "It must also provide the means to reset software locks disabled during diagnosis and repair."

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This post first appeared on Werbung Austria - Slashdot, please read the originial post: here

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US Farmers Are Being Bled By the Tractor Monopoly

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