March 6 2023 09:28 AM

Everyone has a voice when it comes to the right to fix their own tractors; use yours to speak up for the Right to Repair bill.

I’m sure several farmers can recall a time when they have reached a point where the next step in trying to repair their equipment is taking it back to the dealer. I can only imagine how frustrating that must be. Perhaps it is some advanced computer software or a specific part or tool that is needed to make the repair that only the dealer has. No matter what it is, this process will likely cost more money and time.

During my class this semester called Agricultural Policy and Issues in Minnesota, classmates and I have spoken to a few representatives of different prominent commodity groups such as corn and sugar beets. During the discussion of the policy priorities of these groups, the Right to Repair bill came up in conversation. It really piqued my interest because, of course, I know that equipment is becoming more advanced and harder to repair without help. I never thought about how damaging this effect could be on agriculture and the general population.

As I started to read more online about this issue, I realized it has grown into a general consumer issue. So many things require extra help to be fixed or will be replaced entirely, which made me think of what happens with Apple iPhones, for example.

This issue is something that has caught national attention caused by several commodity groups, and it has gained traction. The last known major update is that the Biden Administration put Right to Repair in their Executive Order in June and reiterated their support for Right to Repair again in January of 2022. As exciting as it is to see this progress on this matter, there is still work to be done. After all, the best way to make legislative progress on the local level. This link takes you to a page with a very helpful map that shows the current status of Right to Repair in each state. A note to my fellow Wisconsinites, there is currently no right to repair bill in action. Only three states have passed the bill as of right now.

If you are a part of a crop or farm group now, then help your organizations take action in this matter! Even if you are not, you still have a voice to create change, especially with a matter that affects your day-to-day life and your ability to have a successful operation. To read more about how this issue has specifically impacted agriculture, click here.

Mikayla Peper

Mikayla grew up near Osceola, Wis. She discovered her passion for the dairy industry while working on her neighbors’ Holstein dairy farm. That spurred her involvement in 4-H and FFA, and following graduation from Osceola High School, she headed to the University of Minnesota to pursue a degree in agricultural communication and marketing. During the school year, she worked as a website designer for the University of Minnesota department of animal science, and last summer, she was a farmer relations intern for Midwest Dairy. Peper served as the 2022 Hoard’s Dairyman editorial intern.