Thanks in large part to the introduction of machinery like tractors and combines, farms today are far more efficient and productive than they were a handful of generations ago. Though these time- and labor-saving technologies can run tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, farmers often aren’t able to fix their machinery themselves – which has significant implications for their finances, privacy, and security.
A few decades ago, any given farmer often had the skills and tools needed to quickly make repairs if their machinery broke down. These days, however, it’s not so straightforward. Most modern farm equipment is technologically advanced, containing computers and sensors that collect and transmit data. As a result, specific software tools are typically necessary to address mechanical failures and other issues.
However, most companies refuse to make those tools available to farmers, making it exceptionally difficult to fix broken machinery on their own. They can’t even go an independent mechanic, since manufacturers won’t sell them parts or diagnostic tools either. This leaves farmers essentially no choice but to take their broken equipment to a licensed dealership.
This isn’t cheap. A farmer might spend thousands of dollars on a simple adjustment they could have done themselves with the appropriate resources. On the other hand, this arrangement has proven wildly lucrative for manufacturers; for Deere, as an example, parts and repairs are up to six times more profitable than selling the equipment itself.
But money isn’t the only problem – it’s also a matter of time. Oftentimes on a farm, tasks like planting and harvesting have to be done within a window of just
— source nationalfarmersunion | Hannah Packman | May 24, 2021