Right To Repair

North Carolina commission holds hearing on Agricultural Right to Repair

Tractor spraying herbicides on field
Fotokostic | Shutterstock.com

This month a commission of the North Carolina General Assembly is holding a series of three hearings on Agricultural Right to Repair. Farmers in North Carolina and across the country have called for the policy to address manufacturer-imposed barriers to repairing their own tractors. These hearings are the result of a study provision passed in the 2022 North Carolina Farm Bill directing the Forestry and Agricultural Study Commission to take a closer look at Right to Repair for our state’s farmers before the start of next legislative session. 

Farm equipment dealerships and manufacturers have strongly opposed Right to Repair legislation and many dealership representatives from heavy-equipment makers John Deere, Kubota, CAT and Case IH have turned out in force to these hearings.

Few farmers have been able to attend the hearings, as many are in the field harvesting around the clock. But, farmers who have been able to testify at the hearings have remained consistent: They want to fix their stuff.  

And this is in line with what research from NCPIRG and its national network has found too. Our reports on Right to Repair have found that: 

  • Farmers can’t access technology necessary to fix their modern tractors, meaning they have to turn to dealers for many repairs
  • Dealership consolidation is further reducing farmers’ repair choices—there is only one John Deere dealership chain for every 6,571 North Carolina farms and every 1.2 million acres of North Carolina farmland. 
  • Of the 74 farmers surveyed across 14 states, 95% support Right to Repair

While advancing technology has certainly changed the way repair looks, it doesn’t mean farmers shouldn’t be able to fix the things they own. And farmers, like Senator Brent Jackson himself, are seeing through such claims from dealers too, saying at least weeks hearing “If you’re smart enough to write a half a million dollar check to buy the equipment, you’re smart enough to fix your tractor.” 

Katie Craig

Former State Director, NCPIRG

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