In a recent right to repair hearing in the state Maine, which was attained and recorded by Louis Rossmann of the Rossmann Repair Group,one of the opposition told the senators that the farmers in that state should not be able to repair their own farm equipment, or have it repaired by independent farm equipment repair businesses. Their reasoning to the committee was that if farmers could repair their own equipment, as they were able to in the past, they would hack or alter their tractors to get more power and speed out of them. And thereby violating emission guidelines set out by the government. Louis reacted that farmers would not tune their tractors, so that the corn guy could race the avocado guy to win a bet. To my own experience, and reactions on Louis’ video about the hearing, Louis was unfortunately wrong about that. Farmers do tune their equipment. However this does not give the right to repair opposition a valid statement. Let me explain.
First of all, my experience with farm equipment. I went to a school, where there was a boy in my class who traveled quite a bit each day back and forth to school. He lived in Lisse or Hillegom, both neighboring villages in the middle of the Dutch flower region. He was about 14 years old, and regularly talked proudly to his classmates about him driving around on farm equipment on his parents’ flower farm. He was getting his drivers license valid for farm equipment. In our country (at that time) you were only allowed to take car drivers lessons from the age of 18. However this was not the case with farm equipment, as they are not allowed on all roads and have a speed limit. Pretty often, if you're driving in the country side, cars are stuck behind a tractor slowly passing along to the next field.
However since quite recently, due to privatization of municipal road construction and city landscaping, the cities are seeing more and more frequent usage of tractors instead of dump trucks and single cab vans or 4×4’s pulling a trailer. More than once, these tractors, although looking the same as the ones used by regular farmers, are tuned. They drive just as fast if not faster then the regular traffic. A while back I was in a car with such a tractor in the lane next to us. It was on the lane to enter the A9 highway. The tractor was pulling a large multiaxel tank and was first in line. The lights turned green and the tractor jumped up and drove off leaving all the cars lagging behind. Although being so huge, more than twice the height and six times the length of a big car, it took off like a rocket. Accelerating from something like 0 to 80 km/hour in 5 seconds literally stripping the black top and leaving marks behind. They do this not to race each other, but to get more hired jobs done in the same amount of time.
The right to repair opposition is still wrong about their point though. Farmers should be allowed to tune their equipment. Whether it being for getting more done in a day, or participating in a tractor pulling event. That’s as valid as people chiptuning their car for better performance or converting it to participate in a sport or hobby. However, government rules are not to be violated. If you modify your car to participate in formula 3 or drag racing, you should not drive that car on public roads and for instance use it as a daily driver. This should and must be enforced by government, not by the manufacturers!
What the famers want, is properly functioning and optimized equipment which can be repaired without expensive transport back to the manufacturer and without having to wait days of weeks.