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Nebraska could be the first state to give farmers the right to repair their own equipment.
Farmer Doug Bartek grows corn and soybeans near Lincoln and says dealerships are unfairly passing the burden of fixing equipment onto producers. “The price of repairs at our local dealerships is getting just astronomical.”
State Senator Tom Brandt, a farmer and Republican from Plymouth, has introduced legislation that would require dealerships to provide access to digital repairs. “They really don’t want to see this so it can be business as usual. It’s been a good revenue stream to send a mechanic or technician with the laptop computer. They come to your farm, plug it in and reset your system.”
He says although several states have previously introduced similar legislation, measures stalled.
Brandt tells Brownfield that’s where farmers pay the price. “A modern machine will not start until it’s been recent. They usually charge a mechanic’s wage for that guy to come out. That might be $140 an hour for him to come out, plug the computer in, resent your machine so your machine will start that you made the repair to and the clock doesn’t stop until the guy gets back to the dealership.”
Brandt says he hopes this puts pressure on the major dealerships to sign a national memorandum of understanding that would create a platform for owners and third-party mechanics to have access to digital repairs.