photo credit: Wales Hunter, Used with Permission
Farmers are resourceful—sometimes by nature, but more often, by necessity. I was reminded of that one day when I decided to “clean up” my dad’s scrap pile on the farm. You see, my dad, like most farmers, was saving those spare parts to save time and money—both of which are in short supply on the farm. Sure enough, I threw out a part he needed. Dad wasn’t happy, and I learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes you need to fix things yourself or rely on a handy neighbor to help. That’s why when Farm Bureau members called on American Farm Bureau to work with ag equipment companies on right to repair, we made it a top priority to find a path forward.
Advocacy is at the heart of our work at Farm Bureau. From town hall meetings to hearings on Capitol Hill, advocacy at every level, from local to federal government, is critical to strengthening agriculture and protecting our safe, sustainable food supply. But collaboration across the food and agriculture supply chain can be just as important. In fact, sometimes opting for a private sector solution over a legislative fix is preferred. That was the exact sentiment expressed by our members when they charged us with outreach to equipment manufacturers. Market-based solutions are effective and much less likely to get bogged down in politics and red tape. It’s about sitting down at the table and sorting things out.
Thanks to these agreements, farmers across the country now have the freedom and flexibility to repair their own equipment or work with a local mechanic.
Not long after our grassroots members called on American Farm Bureau to work with ag equipment companies to find a solution on right to repair, we secured our first memorandum of understanding. We kicked off the year signing that MOU with John Deere at our annual convention in San Juan. And we didn’t stop there. I said back in January that I hoped the MOU with John Deere would be the first of many—and sure enough, more have followed. Thanks to the hard work of your team at American Farm Bureau, in the subsequent five months we also signed right to repair MOUs with Case IH and New Holland, Kubota, and AGCO.
Last week we were pleased to announce yet another MOU – with CLAAS. A year ago, I never would have imagined that by midyear we would have signed MOUs covering approximately three quarters of the ag machinery sold in the U.S.
Thanks to these agreements, farmers across the country now have the freedom and flexibility to repair their own equipment or work with a local mechanic. In rural communities, it can be challenging and costly to travel for hours to the nearest approved mechanic or dealer when expensive farm machinery breaks down. When your family, your neighbors and your country are counting on you to keep the farm running and the food supply coming, you don’t always have extra hours to spare.
At Farm Bureau, we are proud of the agreements we have achieved with these ag equipment companies, and we will continue working with other manufacturers as well to ensure all farmers have access to the tools necessary to keep their equipment running, and to keep food on the table for families across America.