STUTTGART, Ark. — For many of us, if something went wrong, we'd take our car to the mechanic but we have always had the option to fix it ourselves— For farmers, though, that's something they don't usually have.
On many occasions, they have had to go to a John Deere dealership or have a service technician come to them to have those issues fixed.
Trent Dabbs, who runs his generations-old family farm in Stuttgart, explained that he knows that problem all too well. He added that the tractors he grew up on as a kid looked nothing like the heavy machinery he uses to keep the farm going.
"Everything has sensors, or some type of software, the hardware involved with it," Dabbs said. "Pretty much reliant or had to go to a dealer to get those kinds of things done."
Repairing heavy machinery is not a cheap thing to do— just having a service technician come out and look at the problem could run your labor costs in the hundreds of dollars.
"It was a pretty simple fix and we could do it if we just had access to that software program," Dabbs said.
Now, they do have that access.
In a decision that had been years in the making, the American Farm Bureau Federation and John Deere entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to allow farmers access to parts needed to repair John Deere products on their own.
This has been a very big deal– not just for Dabbs, but for farmers across the state.
"You're making equipment payments on something that's not moving or giving you any benefit at all on the farm," John McMinn, Director of Commodity Activities and Economics at the Arkansas Farm Bureau, said.
McMinn explained how this doesn't just save farmers money, but it saves them time as well.
"So this could be the difference between a tractor being down on the field for days, weeks at a time, to a matter of hours," McMinn said.
Now Dabbs is able to look forward to the next generation on his family's farm. One where they can keep doing the work they've been doing for years, and where they can save some money in the process.
"So I think it's great that the two private sectors got together and created this," Dabbs said. "Hopefully, some of the other dealerships and equipment manufacturers will follow suit."