A deal between John Deere and the American Farm Bureau Federation could make it easier for farmers to repair their farm equipment made by the company.

As it stands, John Deere equipment will lock itself down if anyone outside of company technicians tries to repair it. UW Madison ag professor Brian Luck says that’s rough for some farmers who might not have time to wait.

“If I have a machine that’s broken, I can put you know somebody to fix it while I do other things. But I fix it on the farm it gets fixed, and then I can continue my work.”

In the past, some farmers have even turned to computer-cracking programs from Ukraine to do their own repairs. Luck says it’s a balancing act between the company wanting to ensure their equipment is repaired correctly, and farmers who can’t wait for a technician.

“The argument farmers are making is that you know, I’m not able to fix my machine when I need to, I have to send it to a dealership, and there’s an added cost for the labor that I’m having to pay to repair my machine.”

Previously, any time a John Deere equipment had a fault or detected a problem, it could lock itself up until it could be taken to a dealership, or until a company technician could come to the farm to clear the issue. Company officials say they will offer quote fair and reasonable terms to access those tools, but prices have not been laid out at this time.

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