When it comes to repair, farmers have always been self reliant. But the modernization of tractors and other farm equipment over the past few decades has left most farmers in the dust thanks to diagnostic software that large manufacturers hold a monopoly over.

In this episode of State of Repair, Motherboard goes to Nebraska to talk to the farmers and mechanics who are fighting large manufacturers like John Deere for the right to access the diagnostic software they need to repair their tractors.

WATCH NEXT: The Pinball Doctors, the Last Arcade Technicians in NYC – https://vice.video/2DRls2X

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Tractor Hacking: The Farmers Breaking Big Tech’s Repair Monopoly

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  • Motherboard

    Farmers have always been self reliant, but big busines modernizations in the world of farm equipment has left most farmers in the dust. We investigate the farmers hacking their equipment to regain the right to repair their tools.

    WATCH NEXT: The Pinball Doctors, the Last Arcade Technicians in NYC – https://vice.video/2DRls2X

  • guyfroml

    The senator needs to return the bill in next year's session. But this time farmers need to rally at the Capitol. That's what narrow minded legislators respond to. Plus get TV news crews out there. Boy, legislators really love that. They'll cave to the farmers in a heartbeat when a TV camera is on them.

  • Fred Lubimov

    It’s almost like you never really read but you sing anyway “terms and conditions”. Dealer want to make money and you would too if you were John Deere

  • Mr.Techaky

    This is why I never and will never buy any tractor that was built after 1981. All my stuff is pre-81 and older, the oldest tractor I have on the property is a 1950s TD-6 and D-8.

  • Texas Smith

    Microsoft bypassed all of that. By them GIVING you Windows 10 you have no right or say so even though you own the computer. Try shutting down, shutting up, or uninstall Cortana who happily spies on all that you do. You can't. It is also too embedded in important functions so you can't even partially delete it. You didn't buy it, it was given to you and using it meant you agreed to the Obamacare like terms and conditions that no one reads. You have no control over your own stuff. It's not just John Deere. It's everything, everywhere.

  • Jon doe

    I recently received a degree in mechanical engineering from a well respected engineering school. Before I graduation I was happy to attend a John Deere recruiting seminar . . . until I got there. 3 John Deere Engineers spoke. One, who had probably never driven a tractor, boosted about how he had successfully changed the oil (under close supervision) in one of the new tractors. The other 2, 1 of which was high up in the company, had never worked on a farm either. It became apparent very quickly that the John Deere of today is focused on extracting money from its customers; not providing good equipment.–sad. They also seemed purposefully try to recruit only the students from urban areas. By the way, according to the representative, their agricultural equipment is designed to function for 2,000 hours. That's like building a car to only go 100,000 to 140,000 miles.

  • big d

    Im seeing more and more CLAAS and other European tractors in my area. Its gotten to a point where I think they probably have about 40% of the hay making equipment market around here. John Deere better watch out. Brand loyalty only goes so far. People do and will choose with there wallets. It may take years (Sears Robuk, Troy Bilt, International Harvester…etc.. )…. but John Deere will ultimately loose if they don't give the consumer what they want.

  • Old Man Khaki

    If it fails mechanically it costs the farmer money for those big parts and John deer don't exactly make big bucks of parts. Yet if the software goes… the farmer again pays big bucks where John deer hits a button on a computer and cashes in.

  • Papa Yuki

    should fight the big auto makers also as they are making more and more cars, trucks, vans a dealer only fix and dealer only parts … it is pissing me off and why i want to go back to a older car,truck,van as it is cheaper to fix and i can get the parts anywhere and anyone can fix it.

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