Bernie Sanders announces a farmers' right-to-repair and antitrust proposal similar to Elizabeth Warren's

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I’m not sure who is going to win the primary (just hope it’s not Biden)

but it occurs to me many of these candidates might end up as cabinent members, Secraties and Department heads, and that would be pretty great for this country, might help fix a large chunk of the damage that’s been inflicted past couple years


Since both of these people are Senators wouldn’t it make sense to put some of these proposals forward as bills now—while they’re still in a position to do so as part of the legislature—instead of saving them for “stuff I hope to work with congress to do if elected President?”


I was just going to say that. One could argue that McConnell will spike the bills, but he’s definitely going to do that if either of them gets elected, and having him visibly drag feet on these proposals now may well keep him from being re-elected.


Not the worst idea I’ve ever heard.

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Because that removes the option of playing the “Oh, if only…” card later?

Otherwise politicians the world over would get shit done, instead of spending most of the time playing the only game there is, Get Re-elected.


So, Bernie’s tenure in the Senate in a nutshell?


Why are they limiting right-to-repair to tractors? I hear that even more people have cars, phones, and computers.


Dam it! Warren and Sanders better stop all this awesomeness shit! I tell ya…


Part actual need in the sector, part cynical politicking (I’m saying this as a supporter of both candidates). The last decade has seen a tremendous upswing in the hobbling and DRM’ing of farm equipment. For an industry that is composed of businesses built on boot strapping, day-of needs, and decentralized access, the lengths that big ag tech have gone to to put a paywall between the equipment and the customer has been especially tone-deaf and nefarious. Missing a single day of spraying, cultivating or harvesting waiting for an “authorized” for-hire tech (or parts) to arrive can be absolutely devastating for a crop.

The cynical part is that the ag tech
industry looks really, really bad doing what everyone else in tech is doing, so it makes for no-brainer campaign material. Helping small farmers doesn’t have a natural enemy. No one really cares that your iPhone screen replacement can void your warranty, but a farmer that loses their crop because the onboard computer didn’t have the drivers to accept a replacement battery is a really visceral and compelling argument. Plus, it sets a template that can be expanded to those other sectors.


That’s an easy answer for me - We actually have a modestly-sized tractor.

Tractors are an insanely expensive, but completely necessary piece of equipment for farmers. When a farmer buys a new tractor, the expectation is that the tractor will be in use on the farm for a number of decades.

A good tractor will be used daily. Ideally, you will have a variety of attachments so you could also use your tractor as a bulldozer, backhoe, etc. The options are only limited by what is compatible with the tractor.

That’s a lot of preventative maintenance (PM) as well as actual repairs that result from daily, heavy use.

Previously, farmers relied on themselves for the majority of repairs. Because - you guessed it - money. The longer the tractor is out of commission, the more likely a financial disaster in the form of crop failure (or similar). Few farmers have the large amount of cash on hand required for dealership repairs plus riding out a bad crop. Every good farmer I’ve ever known has been a wizard at troubleshooting and fixing machinery quickly, sometimes in quite ingenious ways (R.I.P. Grandpa).

Modern tractors have gotten as ridiculously complex as modern cars, with onboard computers and proprietary software to run things. And therein lies the problem - if a farmer these days does their own field repairs on their new tractor, guess what? They just voided their warranty and nullified the agreement with the Tractor MegaCorp.

Farmers are pretty angry about this, needless to say. In the past, farmers have often been in the vanguard in efforts to take on The Man. Don’t know how effective that could be these days, what with Big Agribusiness and all.

(Pretty sure we voided our warranty within a year of getting the Mahindra!)


Sanders and Warren both got it wrong. Why would I vote to enshrine a right for a minority that will be denied the majority? Right to repair should not be a farm equipment only right. It should be universal. Once we pay for a thing that thing should be our to alter as we see fit.

I agree with you, but think of it as a foot in the door, or the snowball effect, or one battle in a war that spans many industries. A victory here could start that snowball rolling down the mountain.

Also, for some reason a lot of farmers decided to vote for Trump, only to get fucked over. A large number of them are furious - at Trump and at that themselves. This issue is one that they are very passionate about.


Exactly. This is specifically a vote grab by promising something to a small group that should be a right for everyone. The foot in the door comes at a price and that price is to accept and support the false narrative that the government must grant your specific group the right to use your property as your see fit and that without permission from the government, you are somehow breaking the law when you decide to use your property how you want.


I get that this is an issue designed to garner support from rural voters but again that makes me wonder why one or both doesn’t put forward a right-to-repair bill now.

Which would have a stronger case for the White House: a politician who had great ideas for legislation they’d like to see as President, or a politician who actually sponsored that legislation and pushed it through a bipartisan congress?


And after Democrats lay out all these reforms that will greatly benefit family farmers economically and socially, the GOP will hone in with laser focus on “pro-diversity policies for 4H” and convince the farm states that the Democrats are just proposing big government and affirmative action and trying to run their lives instead of leaving them alone to be the Rugged Individualists who built this country. Any bets on whether it will (continue to) work?


For Cory, slightly cleaner cutout for future shooping:

I would like to believe (hope) that Bernie or Elizabeth Warren, or even Joe Biden, will offer up proposals that the masses of Americans will welcome as common sense, and that all the Fox News talking points will not be able to quash.


For practical reasons (Island) our farms here have a very small plot size, and the farms them selves tend to be broken up onto smaller fields spread around the immediate area. Usually separated by a few miles of woods, housing or marshland.

What that means is that there’s very little need for large software driven equipment. Farmers here have been avoiding this shit show by running vintage tractors. I know only one place, a huge sod farm, using new John Deer equipment. We’re starting to see a lot of Kubota’s which apparently have less of a repair issue.

But over all its pretty rare here to see any tractor newer than the 1970’s. And there’s a lot of units that are much older. Guy near my house runs International Harvester tracters from the 40’s.