Black Farmers Call for Tractor Supply CEO’s Resignation Over New Diversity Stance

After a controversial announcement by rural retail company Tractor Supply this week, black farmers are taking a stand against the company and its CEO.

Call for Resignation

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The National Black Farmers Association, a non-profit organization representing African American farmers and their families, has called for the CEO of Tractor Supply to step down.

End to DEI Initiatives

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Last week the company, which has described itself as the largest rural farming retailer in the US, released a public statement announcing its intentions to eliminate all of its DEI – diversity, equity, and inclusion – initiatives, as well as its climate commitments.

Focusing on Business

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Tractor Supply, which operates more than 2,200 stores across the US, will now focus on causes related to its business. It has cut all of its DEI roles in the company and will drop sponsorships of “nonbusiness activities” like Pride festivals and events.

Conservative Boycott is Successful

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The decision was a result of a concentrated conservative boycott against the brand. Now it has received backlash from the other end of the political spectrum, as progressive organizations and advocates have slammed the retailer for its new stance.

Black Farming Organization Hits Back

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One of these organizations is the NBFA, which described the DEI rollback as betraying efforts to improve race relations in rural America.

An “Appalling” Decision

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“I was appalled by the decision,” said NBFA president and founder John Boyd Jr. “I see this as rolling back the clock with race relations — because the country is so divided on race, especially in rural America.”

Calling Out CEO

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Boyd Jr., backed by the organization, is now calling on Tractor Supply CEO Hal Lawton, to formally resign from his position as the head of the company.

“They Don’t Want Out Business”

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The organization feels that Tractor Supply is implicitly telling Black farmers that “they don’t want our business,” according to Boyd Jr.

A Shock for Many

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The announcement shocked many Black farmers who have been purchasing farming supplies and equipment from Tractor Supply for decades. Most of the organization’s 130,000 members live near Tractor Supply stores.

Customer and Shareholder

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Boyd Jr. himself is not only a customer, but a shareholder in the company. He claims he has spent more than $10,000 on cattle feed, fencing wire, and other Tractor Supply products since January.

Failed Attempts to Share Concerns

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The NBFA has attempted to contact Lawton directly to discuss the recent elimination of its DEI initiatives, with little success. Now, the organization has decided to go public with its concerns.

“Black Farmers Are Fighting Back”

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“He’s gone too far — and we have to let him know we’re not going to sit back and take this mess anymore,” Boyd Jr. said. “Black farmers are going to start fighting back. And that’s what we’re doing.”

Sending the Wrong Message”

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“This sends the wrong message to our country at a time when we’re going backward on race relations,” he added.

Considering a Boycott of Their Own

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The organization is now waiting to see how the company responds to backlash over its decision in the coming days and may consider a counter-boycott if nothing changes. 

A Growing Trend

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Boyd’s comment will likely strike a chord with other liberal critics, who have accused Tractor Supply of giving into conservative pressure and joining a growing trend of businesses turning away from social justice movements.

About-Turn for Tractor Supply

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It is a significant pivot for the company, which has put a lot of time and funding into progressive campaigns in recent decades, affirming its commitments to diversity and inclusion, as well as ESG –  environmental, social, and governance – initiatives. 

Calling for Conservative Boycott

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This all came to an end when conservative commentator Robby Starbuck took to the social media platform X to slam the farming retailer earlier this month, encouraging conservative consumers to boycott the company over its DEI commitments and “climate change activism.”

Taking the Feedback “to Heart”

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Over the course of two weeks, Tractor Supply was flooded with conservative criticism and its shares fell by 5%. “We have heard from customers that we have disappointed them,” the company responded. “We have taken this feedback to heart.”

Some Business Turn Away

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The NBFA is not the only company to take a bold and immediate stance against the Tractor Supply announcement. The Squirrelwood Equine Sanctuary, a New York-based animal sanctuary spends an estimated $65,000 per year on feed and supplies from the retailer. Now they are looking for a new supplier.

“Basically a Hate Campaign”

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“It’s mind-boggling to me that a company would cave to basically a hate campaign,” Squirrelwood co-founder Beth Hyman told reporters. “Now they just have another boycott on their hands. We didn’t call for that, but obviously people are.”

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The post Black Farmers Call for Tractor Supply CEO’s Resignation Over New Diversity Stance first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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