The invention of more advanced farming equipment has become a double-edged sword for many farmers.
While more work can be done with fewer people, it is almost inevitable for equipment to break down in the field at some point — something more and more farmers are having difficulty fixing on their own.
“We grew up with wrenches and fixing our own stuff so to be told you can’t or you’re not allowed to is a little bit insulting,” said Jeremy Walter, the director of Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS).
With the technology inside of most farming equipment, a repair often requires a manufacturer’s technician to come out, hook up a laptop and diagnose the issue.
Depending on where you live, it could be a costly trip.
“If something breaks you might be able to purchase the part to repair it but that doesn’t mean the machine or computer is going to be able to recognize that that part has been fixed,” Walter said.
But with a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in the United States, farmers are getting their right to repair back.
- Notorious killer Paul Bernardo moved to a medium-security prison
- Hundreds claim they may have lost winning ticket for $70M Lotto Max prize as deadline looms
- Doctors warn of summer ER crunch in Canada: ‘A lot of waiting by patients’
- Want English services in Quebec? Prepare to attest in ‘good faith’ that you qualify
On Jan. 8, the American Farm Bureau Federation signed a MOU with John Deere to ensure all producers have the right to repair their equipment.
“In the end, this MOU is in the best interest of the industry but more specifically in the best interest of our customers as well,” said John Schmeiser, the president of the North American Equipment Dealers Association.
This means American farmers can purchase equipment that could be plugged into machinery giving them information on where a breakdown might have occurred, saving farmers time.
“This clearly defines what the manufacturer and dealers are going to provide to customers for the purposes of repair,” Schmeiser said. “The issue that we’ve heard of is timeliness and machines are down and we can’t be out there quick enough.”
And while the agreement is not currently in place for Canada, Schmeiser believes it is the first step to bringing it north of the border.
“The American Farm Bureau is the largest farm organization in the U.S. and is well respected in both Washington, D.C. and the states by the industry in general,” he explained. “And we’re hopeful that this will lead to similar conversations with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.”