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To the Editor:
Some activists are pushing for the Pennsylvania legislature to put in place a “right to repair” law, claiming it would make it easier for people to get their smart phones and electronic devices fixed. But what’s not mentioned is that this kind of law would harm our state’s multi-billion-dollar farming industry by inserting big government where it doesn’t belong.
This kind of far-reaching “right to repair” legislation would risk the safety, durability and environmental sustainability of farm equipment. It’s also unnecessary, given that the only repairs that equipment owners can’t do themselves are related to government emissions and safety standards. In other words, tractor and combine owners have the same repair rights as truck and car owners.
Efforts to pass “right to repair” bills are being led by groups whose main goal is to gain access to proprietary information and if they succeed, it will be at the expense of our state’s tens of thousands of farms. This policy would undermine the significant investment – hundreds of thousands of dollars on average – in equipment and machinery by opening the door to illegal modifications and tampering. This ultimately will negatively impact trade-in value and expose farmers to shortened equipment life.
People want to fix their own equipment, which I couldn’t agree with more. But broad, far-reaching legislation that will negatively hurt a critical industry in our state and more importantly won’t solve any problem is not the right kind of action for our state legislature to take.
Mike Firestine is a farmer and a banker at Fulton Bank. He is a member of the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Farm-City Committee.