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These queer farmers and ranchers are boycotting Tractor Supply and want you to join them

Author: Christopher Wiggins

Tractor Supply Co., headquartered in Brentwood, Tenn., operates over 2,200 stores across the United States, primarily serving rural areas. The company was previously recognized for its inclusive policies, earning a 95 out of 100 score on theHuman Rights Campaign’s

@headonfirepod

Dear @TractorSupply… Those folks aren’t your customer. I am. Or, at least, I was.

Martin emphasized the values of rural communities he grew up with, which he felt Tractor Supply had abandoned. “The culture of rural areas, the bringing of a covered dish when someone’s sick, the pitching in when someone’s down on their luck—the way small-town folks fiercely defend their own,” he said. “It’s a culture that’s diverse and equitable and inclusive.”

Tractor Supply leaned hard into exclusion in its statement, writing, “Going forward, we will ensure our activities and giving tie directly to our business. For instance, this means we will further focus on rural America priorities, including agricultural education, animal welfare, veteran causes, and being a good neighbor.”

CEO Hal Lawton emailed employees about these sweeping changes, expressing a need to realign with core values. “It has become clear to me over the last few weeks that some of the actions we have taken as a company have veered us off course, losing our balance as we work to serve and reflect the values and perspectives of all our customers and Team Members—those we care about so much,” Lawton wrote. “We are passionate about being good neighbors in our hometowns because without you, we would not be what we are.”

As a podcast host and author, Martin said he has a significant platform that he chose to use to highlight the disturbing decision by Tractor Supply.

“I’ve been using my platform to highlight how these corporate decisions impact real people,” he said. “The support I’ve received has been incredible. It’s heartening to see that there are so many allies out there.”

Wider implications

The backlash against Tractor Supply underscores a broader trend of corporations reevaluating their DEI initiatives in response to political pressure. This shift has significant implications for marginalized communities, particularly in rural areas where resources and support systems are already limited.

John Boyd Jr., president and founder of the National Black Farmers Association, expressed his dismay at Tractor Supply’s decision, calling for the resignation of the company’s CEO. “I see this as rolling back the clock with race relations—because the country is so divided on race, especially in rural America,” Boydsaid in an interview with the Associated Press. He emphasized that such moves harm not just LGBTQ+ individuals but also Black farmers and other minority groups who have relied on Tractor Supply’s support.

“Seeing a company like Tractor Supply, which had been a beacon of inclusion, retreat under pressure is alarming,” Martin said. “It sends a message that our identities and contributions are expendable.”

Hyman echoed this concern.

“For many of us, seeing ourselves reflected in corporate policies was validating,” she said. “When that visibility is stripped away, it can feel like we’re being pushed back into the shadows.”

A call to action

Despite the setback, both Hyman and Martin remain hopeful. “We need to hold corporations accountable for their actions,” Hyman asserted. “If enough of us speak out, we can drive meaningful change.”

The backlash against Tractor Supply has added to conversations about the role of corporations in promoting diversity and inclusion. As The Associated Press reports, the company’s retreat under conservative pressure highlights the fragile nature of corporate commitments to social justice.

For Hyman and Martin, the journey ahead is straightforward. “We won’t support businesses that don’t support us,” Martin declared. “Our dollars have power, and we need to use them wisely.”

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Christopher Wiggins

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