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Twin Tiers Living

Tractor Supply Cuts DEI, Climate Goals After Conservative Backlash

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The Fortune 500 company has been nationally recognized as an inclusive and diverse workplace, including last year in Bloomberg’s Gender Equality Index and Newsweek’s inaugural list of America’s Greatest Workplaces for Diversity.

But it recently became the target of conservative ire for that very reason, as the latest in a growing series of retailers to face backlash over — and ultimately walk back — its DEI initiatives.

Robby Starbuck, a music video director and Republican who ran unsuccessfully to represent Tennessee's 5th Congressional District in 2022, launched the campaign against Tractor Supply on X (formerly Twitter) earlier this month.

He wrote on June 6 that it was “time to expose Tractor Supply,” which he said was one of conservatives’ most beloved brands but was at odds with their values. He pointed to its DEI hiring practices, in-office Pride Month decorations, climate change activism and “funding sex changes,” among other complaints.

“I take no pleasure in bringing this all to light,” Starbuck added. “I’m a Tennessean who loves to support TN companies but as a proud Tennessean I know these woke priorities don’t align with our state or @TractorSupply’s customer base.”

He urged others to “respectfully” flood Tractor Supply’s corporate offices with calls and emails stating their disapproval and, to the extent possible, start buying products from other stores instead.

Their campaign seems to have worked, with the Financial Times reporting it knocked 5% off the Nasdaq-listed company’s share price in the past month. Tractor Supply reversed course before the end of the month.

 

Read more here.

The official statement released by Tractor Supply this week reads as follows:

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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 are passionate about being good neighbors in our hometowns because without you, we would not be what we are. It is imperative to us that our customers’ hard-earned dollars are taking care of our Team Members and the communities we all love. As you supported us, we have invested millions of dollars in veteran causes, emergency response, animal shelters, state fairs, rodeos and farmers markets. We have also invested in the future of rural America. We are the largest supporter of FFA and have longstanding relationships with 4-H and other educational organizations.

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:

  1. No longer submit data to the Human Rights Campaign
  2. Refocus our Team Member Engagement Groups on mentoring, networking and supporting the business
  3. 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 
  4. Eliminate DEI roles and retire our current DEI goals while still ensuring a respectful environment
  5. Withdraw our carbon emission goals and focus on our land and water conservation efforts

We will continue to listen to our customers and Team Members. Your trust and confidence in us are of the utmost importance, and we don’t take that lightly.

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.

We are always here and ready to serve you and your family with our legendary service for the life you love. See you in the stores.

 

 

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On 6/29/2024 at 11:40 AM, Twin Tiers Living said:

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. 

Yeah. I believe this is an honest statement. 

I'm sure most of demographic they serve really does prefer not to have rising costs compounded by resources and expenses supporting symbolic gestures and virtue-signaling about "causes" that don't affect them as a consumer.    

The manufactured outrage I've seen from a few people is just dumb.

It's doubtful that most of the pearl clutching bunch avowing to "boycott" them have even ever visited a TSC store. 

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I agree.

Honestly it’s refreshing to see a company, knowing their base, say, “Yeah, we hear you and we’re going to back away from this.”

And it’s not like TSC has a lot of other products to keep them afloat during a boycott as with the Bud Light boycott ( another instance of ignoring your customer base ).

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Some customers already have decided to take their business elsewhere, including Squirrelwood Equine Sanctuary, a New York animal sanctuary that says it spend more than $65,000 annually on livestock feed and other supplies at Tractor Supply. 

Squirrelwood co-founder Beth Hyman said she first heard about the company’s decision when the sanctuary’s supporters reached out to ask if the group planned to make a statement about it. She thought about it for a day and then went to her local store to ask a manager whom she’s worked with for years about the announcement. 

Hyman, who is gay, said she told the manager the sanctuary could no longer support Tractor Supply if its announcement reflected its beliefs. The sanctuary also posted its stance on X, where the post has received 31,000 likes.

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

Allen Adamson, co-founder of marketing consultancy Metaforce, said the conservative pressure on Tractor Supply and the fallout from giving in was the “perfect example of how the increasing split in the country — politically and ideologically — have made it really hard to run consumer-facing businesses.” 

“No matter which way you go on this, you’re going to upset big chunks of customers,” he said.

 

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I saw this on an Adirondack page I follow:

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A rollback of corporate policies at a national farm and garden chain has led to local implications at one of the company’s Adirondack stores.

Two employees have resigned from the Tractor Supply Company’s Ray Brook location after the company announced plans to eliminate its diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and roll back its environmental commitments after weeks of online backlash from conservatives.

 

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I'm sure it's happening elsewhere, and I'm also certain that the company expected this. 

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9 hours ago, Chris said:

 

I'm sure it's happening elsewhere, and I'm also certain that the company expected this. 

That's one way to cut staff without announcing layoffs 

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