Reactions to Tractor Supply Company Statement On DEI

By Ms Jheri Worldwide

Staff Writer

As a culture, we are becoming increasingly conscious consumers. There is more work to be done and insights to be shared. Everyone has heard the stats, Megan Sayles, cites a Nielsen report in her article ‘Keeping the Black Dollar in the Black Community’ for The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint, “According to a Nielsen report entitled, ‘The State of the African-American Consumer,’ African Americans have a buying power of more than $1 trillion, which is nearly equivalent to the GDP of the 15th largest country in the world. However, dollars circulate just one time in the Black community, compared to six times in the Latinx community and an unlimited amount of times in the White community.”

This is not a new conversation, however there is an update regarding a company widely supported and praised by many in the Black community. On June 27th, 2024 Tractor Supply issued a company statement reading in part: 

“For more than 85 years, Tractor Supply has been focused on one thing…serving Life Out Here. Every day our 50,000 Team Members take care of our customers like family. We deeply value our relationship with our customers and the communities we call home. We work hard to live up to our Mission and Values every day and represent the values of the communities and customers we serve. We have heard from customers that we have disappointed them. We have taken this feedback to heart. Going forward, we will ensure our activities and giving tie directly to our business. For instance, this means we will:

•No longer submit data to the Human Rights Campaign

•Refocus our Team Member Engagement Groups on mentoring, networking and supporting the business

•Further focus on rural America priorities including ag education, animal welfare, veteran causes and being a good neighbor and stop sponsoring nonbusiness activities like pride festivals and voting campaigns 

•Eliminate DEI roles and retire our current DEI goals while still ensuring a respectful environment

•Withdraw our carbon emission goals and focus on our land and water conservation efforts

As we look forward to celebrating our nation’s independence, we also celebrate our more than 50,000 team members across 2,250 stores. Rural communities are the backbone of our nation and what make America great. We are honored to be a part of them.”

As I began to unpack this statement, I looked around on social media for insight. North Carolina’s own Instagram Entrepreneur Caitlin Gooch or @TheBlackCowgirl shared the following feelings, ”I have been shopping at Tractor Supply for years! Since I was a kid. I developed a relationship with the actual company as an adult. Today I saw this statement posted to their Twitter page. It caught me off guard. The statement was put out because evidently a certain demographic of people began to boycott after the CEO publicly stated DEI was important. People started calling Tractor Supply “woke” and saying they are part of the gay agenda and then this statement was posted… I am heartbroken. When I was going through a tough time from a situation on social media, they were there for me. When someone backed out of helping me on my farm, they were there for me. It doesn’t make sense to me that they would post this.”

Caitlin when on to express, “To me it says, ‘Okay, we give in. We won’t say we support our diverse customers and employees.’ Why would a company go out of the way to make such a disrespectful statement, when their customer base doesn’t look one way? Why lose those customers who did nothing wrong? I have seen this company make statements making it known they don’t tolerate racism or any discrimination. To now being okay with the foul things people are tweeting. And some ppl are also saying “It’s just business” and “go woke, go broke,” I think this statement was a turn in the wrong direction. I’m so disappointed.”

Twitter user Robbie Starbuck of Nashville, Tennessee shared his thoughts regarding the statement on X, “This monumental change is thanks to all of you who supported my work exposing this, to the whistleblowers in Tractor Supply and my fellow farm owners who respectfully spoke up. I’m working to get more information about these changes but this is a fantastic moment for the fight to banish wokeness, DEI and ESG from the workplace. This is one of many dominoes to fall to bring back an economy where the customer is king once again and woke politics are eliminated from the workplace.”

Do you shop at Tractor Supply? In follow-up communications with shoppers, it was made clear that this statement puts people in danger. Many small towns in rural America that only have Tractor Supply have a difficult decision to make. People work hard for their money and now have to assess if their dollars are valued or tolerated. 

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