A farm in Forest River North Dakota has filed what could be a real industry-changing lawsuit against venerable Ag giant John Deere.

The Red River Farm Network reports Forest River Farms is asking a federal judge to open a jury trial in a class-action lawsuit alleging John Deere has violated The Sherman Act by acting as a monopoly when it comes to access rights after the sale of their own products.

This is no new topic for many frustrated farmers.  DTN reports that there has been legislation in 32 states introduced to deal with John Deere's alleged monopolistic behavior regarding access to equipment repair firmware.

Problem is...John Deere requires repairs through an authorized John Deere service team.

equipment manufacturers currently will not allow farmers the hardware or software needed to diagnose a problem, much less repair it. So, dealers must send their teams out to the field to diagnose a problem and likely order parts, then come back out to make the repairs. There may be other complications with repairs.


Problem is...Authorized John Deere service teams are fewer and farther away.

In 1996, John Deere had about 3,400 dealerships. By 2007, the number decreased to 2,984, according to the lawsuit. "In 2021, only 1,544 dealership locations remained," the lawsuit said. "Only 144 of these dealerships are not owned by 'big dealers,' i.e., dealerships that operate five or more individual dealership locations. Very few single-location dealerships remain.

So this repair monopoly issue isn't limited to John Deere or the ag industry. I had a Dodge with a Fiat transmission where the secret codes seemed to be locked in some Italian vault somewhere in the Alps.  It died a horrible death due to the manufacturer being unwilling to share proprietory repair knowledge or they just simply couldn't remember where they hid them.

Should John Deere care about the farm from Forest River ND? (population 125)

I think so...because getting the state governments fired up about biting a hand that feeds them is an old and tired way of thinking. Filing a class-action lawsuit in a US District Court and alleging serious monopoly charges and also seeking deep financial restitution makes for a pretty attention-getting case should John Deere's legal team not be able to make this go away...

Forest River Farms in Forest River, North Dakota, asked for a trial by jury and wants the court to order John Deere to make the necessary software available to individual farmers and repair shops.

In addition, the lawsuit seeks damages for farmers who have paid for repairs from John Deere dealers beginning on Jan. 12, 2018, to the present.

That four years of reparations along with giving up your lock on exclusive rights to repair in the future. Read much more at DTNPF.com. 

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