Daines doesn’t represent farmers, ranchers

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Dear Editor:

Senator Steve Daines is a Republican, and you would think that he believes in property rights, but not so much it seems. When Daines was asked a question about Montana farmers and ranchers’ right to repair their own farming equipment at a town hall hosted by the Montana Farmers Union, he said he “was not familiar with the issues,” and he would “have his staff look into it.”

OK, is Daines this dumb, or is he just pretending? Either way, you can bet the whole farm he isn’t going to be representing farmers and ranchers on this issue.

Here’s the problem: Big corporations like John Deere have started to void warranties for expensive farm equipment if a farmer or rancher carries out even the simplest repair. It forces us to leave equipment sitting in the field for hours or days until a highpriced mechanic travels from a dealer, even if we know how to make the repair. I’ve been told by a John Deere mechanic, for instance, that I can’t even add a can of R-134 coolant to a tractor’s air conditioner without voiding the warranty.

Daines’ comments that he doesn’t know about right-torepair, and how the loss of our property rights has made farmers and ranchers into corporate serfs, tells me that he is actually on the side of the big corporations. He doesn’t care about us; all he cares about is making big corporations bigger, more powerful.

Wade Sikorski