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Manufacturer Lock-in in Farm Technology

  • http://www.wired.com/2015/02/new-high-tech-farm-equipment-nightmare-farmers/
    • “I couldn’t even connect to the computer. Because John Deere says I can’t.”
    • “Most problems can’t be solved with duct tape and baling wire anymore…What used to be done by hand is now managed at scale by giant machines…they’ve introduced new problems.”
    • “Aside from using it, there’s not much you can do with modern ag equipment. When it breaks or needs maintenance, farmers are dependent on dealers and manufacturer technicians – a hard pill to swallow for farmers, who have been maintaining their own equipment since the plow.”
    • “Tellingly, the price of and demand for older tractors (without all the digital bells and whistles) has picked up.”
    • “The dealer-repair game is just too lucrative for manufacturers to cede any control back to farmers.”
    • “It’s entirely possible that changing the engine timing on his own tractor makes a farmer a criminal…Even if he could, would it be legal for Dave to fix his machine? Right now, we don’t know; and that ambiguity is disturbing.”
    • “…farmers are starting to go open source…Dorn Cox co-founded Farm Hack”

I personally dislike the idea that the chain of technology that turns natural resources into nutrients has big, proprietary secrets in it. That feels a little like extortion. Yeah, it’s hyperbole, but surviving and thriving deserves a bit of hyperbole.

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