Tractor Supply Co. DEI program going away nationwide. Is Ohio distribution center impacted?

  • Tractor Supply Co. recently announced that it will cut DEI, climate change efforts, and support for Pride events.

  • Online pressure from conservative figures like Robby Starbuck prompted calls for boycotts against the company.

  • The announcement sparked public outcry from advocacy groups like the Human Rights Campaign, which the retailer previously provided data to.

Tractor Supply Co. announced Thursday that it will eliminate roles surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion, and will abandon its carbon emissions goals, the Associated Press reports.

The company has 50 Ohio stores, according to the company’s website, and more than 2,200 stores nationwide. It is one of the country’s largest farm, animal feed, and agricultural suppliers and has operated for more than 85 years.

Tractor Supply opened a 900,000-square-foot distribution center in Navarre, Ohio, last year. The warehouse ships inventory to retail stores in multiple eastern U.S. states, as well as fulfilling online orders, according to the Canton Repository. As a corporate effort, Tractor Supply’s DEI repeal is likely to touch every area of the company, including the Ohio stores and warehouse.

The company’s DEI reversal decision comes just weeks after growing criticism of Tractor Supply’s ‘woke’ practices, with a boycott led by conservative commentator Robby Starbuck on social media. The retailer also announced during Pride Month that it plans to stop sponsoring pride events and festivals.

Why people are mad at Tractor Supply Co.

Implementing DEI efforts led to conservative outcry. Repealing those efforts made fans of inclusivity mad at Tractor Supply.

The company said that it is walking back its inclusion efforts to better align with its rural customer base. In a recent company statement, it notes that it “heard from customers that we have disappointed them. We have taken this feedback to heart.”

Also outlined in the statement were new company practices it will implement, such as withdrawing from “nonbusiness activities” like submitting data to the Human Rights Campaign. It will eliminate DEI roles, retire current DEI goals and dissolve its previously held carbon emission goals.

The company’s stock performance over the past five days has been down 3.25%, according to data from MarketWatch.

Boycott calls and conservative pressure likely influenced Tractor Supply’s decision

In a June 6th social media post on X (previously Twitter), film director and conservative commentator Robby Starbuck criticized Tractor Supply Co. and its CEO Hal Lawton, citing that it is one of the most beloved brands in the country by conservatives. But Starbuck said that the company’s “woke priorities” don’t align with its customers and called for users to purchase from other chains until Tractor Supply makes “real changes” that reflect the majority of customers’ political beliefs.

Over the past three weeks, there have been multiple calls for boycotts, and Tractor Supply has since reworked its policies to lean in favor of the conservative interests of customers.

Still, the company faces backlash from advocacy groups like the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD and the National Black Farmers Association, which fiercely oppose the decision, according to NPR. Starbuck took to Instagram to celebrate the corporation’s move, promising to “win the war on wokeness.”

Dozens of companies are distancing themselves from DEI and social initiatives

Tractor Supply speaks to a growing trend where dozens of companies have been backtracking on their diversity efforts.

Tech companies like Google and Meta have downsized DEI programs last year, a significant contrast from the efforts to expand diversity and inclusion just years ago following the George Floyd protests in 2020. Four years later, corporations like Kohl’s and GameStop have quietly removed themselves from DEI terminology, according to the Wall Street Journal.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: 50 Ohio stores, distribution center affected by Tractor Supply DEI rollback

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