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Business & Innovation

National Black Farmers Association challenges Tractor Supply’s diversity rollback

todayJuly 9, 2024 2

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Tennessee-based Tractor Supply says it will cut diversity-focused positions and withdraw its carbon-emissions goals in a response to right-wing pressure. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Tractor Supply Company, a prominent farm-supply retailer, has recently announced significant changes to its corporate policies, prompting a response from the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA). The company’s decision to eliminate diversity-focused positions and withdraw its carbon-emissions goals has drawn attention from various stakeholders.

On June 27, 2024, Tractor Supply intended to refocus on its “85-year-old culture” and distance itself from “political agendas.” This shift in direction includes the removal of certain diversity-oriented roles within the company and the abandoning of previously established environmental targets.

John Boyd, President of the NBFA, has expressed concern over these policy changes. The NBFA, representing many African American farmers across the United States, views this development as potentially detrimental to its members’ interests. Boyd, a shareholder and customer of Tractor Supply, has called for the resignation of company President Hal Lawton in response to these actions.

The retailer’s February annual report highlighted its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. It noted that its workforce comprised approximately 51% male and 49% female employees, with racial and ethnic minorities making up about 18% of the total. The company had also set ambitious environmental goals, including plans to reduce its carbon footprint by 20% by 2025 and achieve net-zero emissions across all operations by 2040.

Boyd has pointed out that Tractor Supply has not participated in events or provided sponsorship opportunities for Black farmers while continuing to engage with predominantly white farming events. The NBFA contends that this approach does not align with the company’s previously stated diversity objectives.

The controversy highlights ongoing discussions about corporate responsibility, diversity in the agricultural sector, and the balance between business objectives and social commitments. As the situation develops, it remains to be seen how Tractor Supply will address the concerns raised by the NBFA and other stakeholders.

Tractor Supply maintains that its recent decisions do not alter its commitment to providing a welcoming environment for customers and team members. However, the company’s policy changes have sparked a broader conversation about the role of diversity and environmental initiatives in the farm supply industry.


Written by: Tarik Moody

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