Part of the Food Policy Snapshot Series
Overview: Colorado Governor Jared Polis has signed the first “Right-to-Repair” bill in the country, allowing farmers to repair their own equipment.
Food policy category: Food production and supply
Program goals: To increase farmers’ independence and reduce the time and cost associated with machinery repairs, in order to create fairer and more competitive agricultural markets.
How it works: Beginning in 2024, farm machinery manufacturers, including John Deere and CNH Industrial, will be required to provide consumers with the tools, parts, software, manuals, and any other information or equipment necessary to perform their own repairs.
Consumers will not be allowed to make modifications to the equipment that would permanently deactivate safety features or bring the equipment out of compliance with safety or emissions laws.
Progress to date: In 2018, agricultural manufacturers made a commitment to provide maintenance, diagnostic, and repair information to users by 2021, but they did not follow through on that promise. In July 2021, President Biden issued an executive order promoting a fair and competitive marketplace and encouraging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce right-to-repair rules in agriculture and other industries. Colorado’s right-to-repair agricultural equipment bill was introduced in January 2023 and signed by Governor Polis on April 25, 2023.
Why it is important: Most major farm equipment manufacturers do not allow farmers or independent mechanics access to the tools and information needed to make repairs to their machinery and instead require users to bring their broken equipment to licensed repair centers. This process is burdensome to farmers who have to find a way to haul their large machinery to a repair center, pay significant prices for services, and put their work on hold for several days at a time while their equipment is being transported and fixed. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund reports that national right-to-repair laws for agricultural equipment would save farmers $4.2 billion per year by reducing the cost of labor and lost productivity.
Program/Policy initiated: The policy will go into effect on January 1, 2024.
Point of contact:
Office of Governor Jared Polis
Similar practices: While Colorado is the first state in the U.S. to pass an agricultural right-to-repair law, 15 other states – Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, and Vermont – have introduced similar legislation.
Colorado also passed a right-to-repair law for powered wheelchair owners that went into effect on January 1, 2023.
- Colorado Governor Signs First US Agriculture “Right to Repair” Bill Into Law (Ag Web)
- Fact Sheet: Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy (The White House)
- Right to Repair in 2022: What Happened in New York, and Our Top Accomplishments (U.S. PIRG)
- Right to Repair Notches a Big Win in Colorado (Politico)
- State Right-to-Repair Proposals Pit Consumers Against Companies (Bloomberg Law)
- What You Should Know About Right to Repair (The New York Times)
- White House Says Executive Order on Right to Repair Is Coming (Modern Farmer)
- 11 States Consider ‘Right to Repair’ for Farming Equipment (ABC News)
- 16 States Consider Tractor Right to Repair Bills in 2023 (U.S. PIRG)
- Colorado Agriculture (Colorado Department of Agriculture)
- Colorado Becomes First State with Right-to-Repair Law (Modern Farmer)
- Colorado Passes First US Right to Repair Legislation for Farmers (Reuters)
- Colorado Right to Repair Law a Win for Farmers Across the Country (National Farmers Union)
- Consumer Right To Repair Agricultural Equipment (Colorado General Assembly)
- Consumer Right To Repair Powered Wheelchairs (Colorado General Assembly)
- Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy (The White House)
- Out to Pasture (U.S. PIRG)
- Right to Repair Statement of Principles (Far West Equipment Dealers Association)