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‘Hog-tied’ and fed up: New report shows dealership consolidation makes farmers’ lives harder

For Immediate Release

According to the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, many farm equipment manufacturers prevent farmers from accessing the software tools they need to fix their modern tractors. The organization states that this “forces farmers to turn to corporate-authorized dealers for many problems, which can lead to high repair bills and delays that can put their crops—and their livelihoods—at risk”. While farmers have always relied on local dealerships for help, more and more those dealerships have been bought up by large chain networks, further reducing competition and exacerbating the problems farmers already face due to repair restrictions.

A new Arizona PIRG Education Fund report, “Deere in the Headlights II”, demonstrates the extent of the dealership consolidation problem and shows how Right to Repair reforms could dramatically increase farmers' repair choices.

Arizona PIRG Education Fund research found that John Deere, which controls 53% of the country’s large tractor market, has more consolidated and larger chains than competitors Case IH, AGCO and Kubota. Eighty-two percent of Deere’s 1,357 agricultural equipment dealership locations are a part of a large chain with seven or more sites. In Arizona, there are two large John Deere chains, with an average chain size of 27.5 and 9,500 farms/chain.

“Between repair restrictions and dealership consolidation, farmers are feeling hog-tied,” said Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. “Farmers deserve to be able to choose between fixing their own tractors, hiring an independent mechanic, or turning to competing dealerships nearby. Instead, many have only one dealership chain within a hundred miles that services their brand of equipment. Finding repair options shouldn’t be like searching for a needle in a haystack.”

The Arizona PIRG Education Fund notes that farmers across the country are calling for Right to Repair reforms, which would provide farmers and independent mechanics with the software and other materials required to repair modern tractors.

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