Who Can Fix This Tractor?
Citizen Ship
Posted: May 01, 2023
  • 1 tractorrepair
    When Danny Wood’s tractor broke down, he had to wait for service. That meant he stopped fertilizing for a few days. (Danny Wood via AP)
  • 2 tractorrepair
    Farmer Nathan Weathers checks a tractor in Yuma, Colorado. (Brian Brainerd/The Denver Post via AP)
  • 3 tractorrepair
    A combine harvests grain on Danny Wood’s farm. (Danny Wood via AP)
  • 4 tractorrepair
    A farmer repairs his tractor. (AP/Paul Vernon)
  • 5 tractorrepair
    Women fix a tractor on a farm in South Wales in 1939. (AP)
  • 1 tractorrepair
  • 2 tractorrepair
  • 3 tractorrepair
  • 4 tractorrepair
  • 5 tractorrepair
  • 1 tractorrepair
  • 2 tractorrepair
  • 3 tractorrepair
  • 4 tractorrepair
  • 5 tractorrepair
  • 1 tractorrepair
  • 2 tractorrepair
  • 3 tractorrepair
  • 4 tractorrepair
  • 5 tractorrepair

THIS JUST IN

You have {{ remainingArticles }} free {{ counterWords }} remaining.

The bad news: You've hit your limit of free articles.
The good news: You can receive full access below.
WORLDkids | Ages 7-10 | $35.88 per year

SIGN UP
Already a member? Sign in.

The Colorado horizon stretches out as straight as a pencil: On top, blue sky. Below, golden fields. In the middle, Danny Wood’s high-tech Steiger 370 tractor conks out. PUTTT, BRUMMM, PUTTT.

Mr. Wood is a farmer. He’s scrambling to plant and harvest millet, corn, and wheat. But how can he do that with a broken tractor?

The tractor’s maker doesn’t allow Mr. Wood to make certain fixes himself. Last spring, fertilizing had to stall for three days. Finally, a repair person arrived. The worker added a few lines of computer code . . . and charged $950.

Mr. Wood says, “It’s more like we are renting it than buying it.” But Mr. Wood did buy his tractor, of course . . . for $300,000. He and other farmers wonder, shouldn’t they be able to fix the tractors themselves?

Lawmakers in Colorado and 10 other states hear the farmers’ complaints. They suggest laws that would make manufacturers provide the tools, software, parts, and manuals farmers need to do their own repairs. That would take away the steep price tag for fixes.

Not everyone agrees with these new bills. Tractor makers don’t want to share their secret machine designs. They also say farmers could tinker with software. They could crank the horsepower too high. That could make the tractors dangerous to use.

But every day a farmer can’t plant or harvest, he or she may lose crops that could be sold. What if a hail storm comes during those days, flattening crops? What if the ground gets too hot or cold for planting? “Our crop is ready to harvest and we can’t wait five days. But there was nothing else to do,” says Mr. Wood. When a tractor breaks, “You just sit there and wait, and that’s not acceptable. You can be losing $85,000 a day.”

Why? God calls people to care for His world well. That includes managing resources thoughtfully—and not being greedy for gain at someone else’s expense.