Friday, July 05, 2024

National Black Farmers Association Calls for Immediate Resignation of Tractor Supply President

The National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) is calling for the immediate resignation of Tractor Supply President Hal Lawton following the company's recent decision to cut diversity-focused positions and withdraw its carbon-emissions goals in response to right-wing pressure.

Tractor Supply, one of the country's largest farm-supply retailers, announced on Thursday (June 27, 2024) that it would refocus on its "85-year-old culture" and step away from "political agendas." This decision has been met with outrage from the NBFA, a non-profit organization that represents tens of thousands of African American farmers and their families nationwide.

According to Tractor Supply's statement, this decision does not change the company's commitment to its customers and team members, and providing a welcoming and respectful environment. However, NBFA President John Boyd, a shareholder and customer of Tractor Supply, believes otherwise.

"Tractor Supply has shown with its broken promises that it has little respect for black farmers," said Boyd. "As President of the NBFA, I am appalled by this decision, which is reflective of the ongoing racial tension and division in America. This affects our 130,000 members, many of whom regularly shop at Tractor Supply. Having repeatedly attempted to discuss our concerns with Mr. Hal Lawton, I am now calling for his immediate resignation."

Last year, Tractor Supply celebrated its recognition for pursuing workplace diversity. In its February annual report, the company stated its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and announced new initiatives aimed at achieving these goals. However, the recent decision to roll back these initiatives has sparked outrage and disappointment among black farmers and their supporters.

"Diversity and inclusion play a key role in moving our business forward," Tractor Supply said in its annual report. "Our workforce is approximately 51% male and 49% female, and racial and ethnic minorities comprise about 18% of our workforce."

In addition to diversity, Tractor Supply also pledged to cut its carbon footprint by 20% by 2025 and by 50% by 2030, and to achieve net-zero emissions across all operations by 2040. These commitments, along with the company's recognition for its pursuit of diversity, gave hope to many farmers, especially those from underrepresented communities.

But as Boyd pointed out, Tractor Supply continues to participate in predominantly white farm shows and events while snubbing events and opportunities for black farmers. The company has never displayed a booth or sponsored an event or training opportunity for black farmers, denying them the respect and dignity they deserve. This behavior is reflective of the widespread disdain that still exists in the agricultural industries towards people of color.

Many sectors of American society have taken action to address the shameful racial disparities that plague people of color. However, Tractor Supply has not followed suit. As an association that represents a substantial customer base for Tractor Supply, the NBFA believes its members deserve the same consideration as other agricultural associations and non-profits, who enjoy discounts on Tractor Supply purchases and program support.

"We deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, not as a nuisance," said Boyd.

For more information on this matter, please contact NBFA President John Boyd at or 434-210-2286.

The NBFA is a non-profit organization that represents African American farmers and their families in the United States. Its education and advocacy efforts focus on civil rights, land retention, access to loans, education and agricultural training, and rural economic development for black and other small farmers.

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