Colorado House passes tractor Right to Repair bill as national momentum swells

Media Contacts
Kevin O'Reilly

Former Director, Campaign for the Right to Repair, PIRG

DENVER – The Colorado House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Consumer Right to Repair Agricultural Equipment Act (HB23-1011) on a 48-12 vote on Tuesday. It’s the first such bill to clear a state legislative chamber in 2023. HB23-1011 would provide farmers with needed repair choices by requiring manufacturers to make available all materials needed to fix farm equipment such as tractors and combines.

“For decades, if something you owned broke, you could fix it yourself, take it to an independent repair shop or go back to the dealer or manufacturer,” said Danny Katz, executive director of CoPIRG. “Now, as more of our stuff, including agricultural equipment like tractors and combines, runs on software, manufacturers are able to lock us out. That undermines the repair marketplace and leads to longer delays and inflated repair bills. With fields to be plowed, planted and harvested, farmers don’t always have the time to wait for whoever the manufacturer designates can fix their stuff.”

The vote comes a month after tractor maker John Deere signed a Right to Repair agreement that many farmer and repair advocates met with deep skepticism. Despite Deere’s promises, Colorado and 12 other states have filed agricultural Right to Repair legislation, and the U.S. Department of Justice has publicly supported a series of farmer-led class-action lawsuits against Deere’s repair restrictions.

“Agricultural Right to Repair is bursting out of the gates in 2023 faster than a tractor pull,” PIRG Right to Repair Campaign director Kevin O’Reilly said. “Farmers’ message couldn’t be clearer: They just want to fix their stuff, and an industry ‘pinky swear’ isn’t going to satisfy them.”

A broad coalition of farmer and repair advocates support the Consumer Right to Repair Agricultural Equipment Act, including CoPIRG, the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Colorado Corn Growers Association, Colorado Wool Growers Association, Colorado Association of Wheat Growers, Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and the National Federation of Independent Business.

“Thanks to technological advancements in modern equipment, less than 2% of the U.S. population not only feeds the rest of the country but exports surplus to world markets,” said Rocky Mountain Farmers Union President Chad Franke. “However, when this equipment breaks down, farmers and ranchers should have the ability to diagnose and repair their equipment themselves or through independent mechanics, not just through manufacturer authorized mechanics which are no longer located in small rural communities. Rocky Mountain Farmers Union applauds the passage of HB23-1011 by the Colorado House of Representatives.”

Colorado enacted the world’s first powered wheelchair Right to Repair law last June, showing that a bipartisan group of state lawmakers are willing to support repair legislation. HB23-1011 now moves to the Colorado Senate, which it needs to pass through by May 10 to have the chance to become law this session.

“Farmers and repair advocates are cheering on Colorado Reps. Brianna Titone (D-Arvada) and Ron Weinberg (R-Fort Collins), who are pushing to reaffirm their state’s status as a Right to Repair trailblazer,” O’Reilly said. “Legislators in other states and D.C. should follow suit to guarantee that 100% of farmers have what they need to fix 100% of their equipment.”