Farm equipment Right to Repair bill passes key Senate committee

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DENVER: The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources passed a bill that would ensure farmers and ranchers in Colorado have access to necessary materials needed to fix their agricultural equipment. The bill, HB23-1011, sponsored by Senators Nick Hinrichsen and Janice Marchman, passed on a 4-3 vote with Senators Byron Pelton and Dylan Roberts voting yes.

A broad coalition supports the bill 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, the National Federation of Independent Business,, and iFixit.

Department of Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg testified in favor. The bill passed the House with bipartisan support including Republican sponsor Representative Ron Weinberg.

In reaction to the committee vote, CoPIRG Executive Director Danny Katz released the following statement:

“I’m glad to see the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources committee pass the farm equipment Right to Repair bill to ensure farmers have the tools to fix their stuff.

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. You had choices. Unfortunately, as more of our stuff, including agricultural equipment like tractors and combines, runs on software, manufacturers are able to lock us out, undermining the repair marketplace and driving up costs and inconvenience.

When manufacturers restrict access to the embedded software tools needed to repair broken tractors, farmers are left out in the cold. They are forced to rely on dealerships to fix their equipment, which can lead to lengthy delays and inflated repair bills. With fields to be plowed, planted and harvested, farmers don’t always have the time to wait for a dealer. They need to be able to fix their own stuff and should have the freedom to get help from someone they trust whether that’s themselves, a family member, a friend, an independent repairer or the dealer.

Just like car owners and wheelchair users, which both have right-to-repair protections because of state laws, farmers should have access to the stuff they need to fix their equipment.”

HB23-1011 requires manufacturers of agricultural equipment to make available parts, tools, repair manuals, and documentation to owners and independent repairers at fair and reasonable prices to fix their stuff. It also requires manufacturers provide the digital access and embedded software needed to complete repairs.

The bill heads to the full Senate.