By Jerome Crosby
This has been a year of challenges for the agriculture industry. From bad weather to a global pandemic and recession, we’ve faced many obstacles. As the owner of a small business that has been operating in Douglas for over many years, I’m consistently proud of our industry’s ability to overcome unexpected challenges.
Now that the Georgia General Assembly is back in session, our lawmakers have the opportunity to help us recover and have a successful year, but only if they stay away from harmful and unnecessary regulations like “right to repair.” Such legislation was introduced during the last term of the General Assembly and could come up again this session. It would hurt our industry by allowing untrained third-party technicians, who are looking to take advantage of our customers, to operate. "Right to repair" legislation would require agriculture equipment dealers and manufacturers to release the proprietary information and back-end code that they developed to the public.
We have a shared interest with the hard-working farmers in our community to succeed. My goal and the goal of my employees is to offer top-notch services that keep farms in our community operating with little to no downtime, but “right to repair” policies could force my business to close its doors. Farmers need access to highly trained technicians that can quickly and professionally make repairs, especially after the trying year we’ve faced.
Technological advancements in modern-era tractors have enabled farmers to more efficiently operate and use their land. It’s part of the reason we’ve continually seen an increase in food production over the past several decades. We also understand that making repairs on newer equipment isn’t as simple, which is why equipment dealers and manufacturers provided farmers with repair manuals, diagnostic information, and replacement parts and can make a vast majority of repairs themselves if they choose.
A “right to repair” policy will negatively affect my business, my employees who rely on a paycheck, and the farmers in my community who trust us to keep them operating. I hope our lawmakers will stay away from this unnecessary regulation and allow my business to continue helping farmers.