Colorado Passes First Right-to-Repair Law for Farmers

by Marissa Sheldon, MPH

Part of the Food Policy Snapshot Series

Policy name: HB23-1011 Consumer Right To Repair Agricultural Equipment

Overview: Colorado Governor Jared Polis has signed the first “Right-to-Repair” bill in the country, allowing farmers to repair their own equipment. 

Location: Colorado

Population: 5.9 million total population; more than 195,000 people are employed on 38,900 farms and ranches in the state. 

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. 

Evaluation: A formal evaluation has not yet been conducted. Farmers are clearly in support of the policy, but manufacturers including John Deere have expressed opposition

Learn more:


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