A 360 View of “The Right to Repair” Debate in Montana

Do you remember when “the right to repair” debate showed up at the Montana Legislature?

On one side you had farmers and farm groups who called for the “right to repair” their own equipment. On the other side you had farm equipment dealers trying to put the brakes on what they considered dangerous legislation. In the middle were the farmer-rancher citizen legislators who wanted to be able to fix their equipment, but didn’t want to break their local equipment dealer either.

We had a great conversation at the Montana Equipment Dealers Association conference in Whitefish, Montana last week. And it wasn’t just a one-sided conversation with equipment dealers. We had legislators, stockgrowers, grain growers, and Farm Bureau leaders all in the house as well.

State Senator Ryan Osmundson (R-Buffalo) is a farmer and rancher who now serves as the governor’s budget director. He pointed out how the whole debate over “the right to repair” actually started with the iPhone, and people who wanted to fix their own iPhones. That debate then moved into farm equipment and a whole host of consumer goods.

I think a lot of us can see both sides of this debate. We know that farmers and ranchers are used to

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