Recently, the national Farm Bureau organization executed Memorandum of Understanding with John Deere. In exchange for John Deere promising to (subject to reasonable charges), make available tools and information so farm operators can fix their own equipment, Farm Bureau will not promote right to repair legislation and encourage state level entities to do the same. The agreement calls for further meetings twice a year between the two organizations. It is being hailed as a win. Corporations have such a great track record of self-policing over the years Issue resolved right?
Farm Bureau promotes itself as representing farm operators, markets products to include insurance and estate planning services to many, many farmers of all sizes. This agreement to not advocate for right to repair legislation looks like they are forgetting the size and scope of a number of their members. Interestingly, a competition farm advocacy group, Farmer’s Union, had filed an FTC complaint against Deere. In the summer, the White house encouraged the FTC to limit equipment manufacturer’s ability to restrict DIY repairs or independent repair shops.
This agreement is between John Deere and Farm Bureau, not individual farmers. Farmers have no standing to enforce this agreement if John Deere doesn’t follow through. A farm operator’s only remedy to tell the state and national organization that you don’t agree and or the corporation isn’t following the rules. Unless a groundswell of complaints are lobbied, they will likely be duly acknowledged and filed accordingly. And if Farm Bureau does want to take it back to the legislature, they do it by executing a sudden about face on the issue and likely another legislative cycle or three will pass before anything occurs.
It is no secret that Farm Bureau has clout on the federal hill and in a large number of state houses. Side lining this organization in order to limit the government’s interactions with corporate conduct is a coup for corporate America. While big government is not great in my estimation, the fact that we have to kick around the idea of requiring corporations by rule to not withhold information on how to repair their products they sell is alarming. To see that a substantial player in the field has effectively signed a peace treaty on the matter is concerning. News reports indicate that the organization is carry the peace pipe to other equipment manufacturers in the coming days.
USDA to start tracking foreign ownership of land.
Iowa has a rule against it, and several other states do or are in the process of doing so. Now, the feds will track the foreign ownership of ag land as well. Of note, the state of Arizona currently leases farmland to a company with a head quarters in Saudi Arabia. The new AG of the state is looking to modify that relationship.
North Carolina Right to Farm law, as amended in 2018, is allowed to stand. It creates requirements for a complaining party to establish as part of the suit and limits damages. The NC courts found that the right to farm law and choosing to promote ag activities is within the police power of the estate. That’s a win for ag producers.