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Congress deliberates 'right to repair' for farmers; Flood has tech security concerns

Posted at 7:51 AM, Sep 16, 2022

Many farmers want the ability to repair their own equipment without taking it to a specific dealer. Independent technicians and farmers can't repair equipment in a lot of cases.

The Nebraska Legislature was the first state to consider a 'right to repair’ law last year. That bill stalled, but Congress is now considering action.

As farm equipment gets more sophisticated, advocates for ‘right to repair’ want repair instructions and parts to be easier to get.

Republican Congressman Mike Flood advocated for virtual self-repair but said Congress needs to be careful on how China could use any future policy.

“I’d strongly caution that if we take federal action that we inadvertently let our guard down against China," said Flood. "I think that’s a real and pressing threat.”

Flood also said he “understands the frustration of people, particularly farmers," but still cautions the federal government to carefully ensure there are not unintended consequences.

A representative for manufacturer Caterpillar said his company has already expanded 'self repair' for its customers in a mission to sell more equipment parts.

Flood’s competitor in the November election, Democrat Patty Pansing Brooks, told 3 News Now she’s in favor of some type of law.

“I do not believe we should force farmers to go to an authorized dealership that would eventually waste their time and money,” said Pansing Brooks.

Pansing Brooks voted the bill out of committee in the Nebraska Legislature in 2020. The Unicameral essentially ran out of time. Sen. Tom Brandt prioritized the bill.

Still, Pansing Brooks said she’d vote for it again in Congress.

“Farmers need the independence to fix their own machinery," said Pansing Brooks.

Farmers ask: Should they be able to repair their own tractor or farm equipment?

Push continues by farmers in Congress and courts for more access

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