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Farm Equipment Manufacturers Could Be Fined For Not Giving Information Needed To Make Equipment Repairs

Sen. Jennifer Bradley (R-Orange Park) wants to force manufacturers to give farmers the information they need to repair their own equipment.
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Sen. Jennifer Bradley (R-Orange Park) wants to force manufacturers to give farmers the information they need to repair their own equipment.

Sen. Jennifer Bradley (R-Orange Park) is backing a new legislative proposal that would fine manufacturers for not giving farmers the information they need to repair their equipment. That includes updates and corrections to equipment software. Bradley says she's talked with farmers and ranchers in her district who are frustrated at not being able to repair their own agriculture equipment.

"They were in the middle of a harvest, they were working, their tractor went down, they thought it was a fuse or a fault, but they didn't have the repair equipment, they didn't have the diagnostic tools to be able to hook up to the tractor to troubleshoot, see where the fault was, see what the issue was," Bradley says.

She says without those tools, farmers have to go to dealers for costly repairs.

"I think that when you have purchased a piece of equipment for several hundred thousand dollars, you should have the right and the ability to own the repair and diagnostic information so that you can repair and troubleshoot and take care of your equipment," Bradley says.

Her bill is part of a larger 'Right-To-Repair' movement that's met opposition from manufacturers like John Deere. Bob Long spoke on behalf of the company during the bill's first Senate Committee hearing. Long says John Deere already provides some diagnostic tools to equipment owners.

"And additionally, users have access to onboard diagnostic tools via in-cab display and wireless interface as well as manuals, product guides, mobile apps, and product service information," Long says.

But Bradley explains the farmers she's talked to feel they have don't all the diagnostic tools they need from manufacturers like John Deere.

"The farmers that I'm speaking with when I tell them that John Deere has said that they already have all the information they need, I can tell you they are quite surprised with that assertion," Bradley says.

Bradley's proposal has passed its first committee stop today.

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Robbie Gaffney is a recent graduate from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.
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