As farmers struggle, Rep. Shallcross Smith plans to reintroduce ‘Right to Repair’ legislation
STATE HOUSE — As farmers across the state report difficulties and delays in getting their tractors fixed, Rep. Mary Ann Shallcross Smith (D-Dist. 46, Lincoln, Pawtucket) plans to reintroduce legislation that would allow them to make repairs themselves on their own land.
The Agricultural Equipment Right to Repair Act, which Representative Shallcross Smith introduced last session (2022-H 7535) would require the manufacturers of agricultural equipment to provide independent service providers with information and tools to maintain and repair electronics of the equipment.
“At this time most farmers have to have their tractors towed way to a dealer to have their tractors fixed when they break down,” said Representative Shallcross Smith. “This current procedure is costly and time consuming. The time to fix the tractor could take several days or weeks — time they need for growing and harvesting their crops.”
The intent of the bill is to have the local farmer go to local dealers to purchase the equipment and parts needed to fix their tractors. Currently, the dealer holds the rights to the electronic processing units and engine control units so local farmers cannot access their tractors to be fixed on their farms. The legislation would give tractor owners a choice: fix the tractor on their premises or have it towed to a dealer to have it fixed. The solution will give small businesses flexibility to have choices and less worry about having equipment fixed in a timely manner.
“The Agricultural Right to Repair Act is the common-sense, long-overdue shield that farmers have been waiting for,” said Representative Shallcross Smith. “It restores farmer access to the parts, tools, and software necessary to repair their equipment and do their jobs. Farmers should be able to fix their own tractors.”
Representative Shallcross Smith plans to reintroduce the bill during the next legislative session.