Black Farmers’ Association Calls for Boycott of John Deere

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BASKERVILLE, Va., Sept. 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — John Deere, the world’s leading manufacturer of farm equipment, takes pride in its corporate values of “integrity, quality, commitment, innovation.” But the nearly 200-year-old American industrial giant apparently cares little for equality and inclusiveness. 

Year after year the National Black Farmers’ Association (NBFA) has invited the Deere company to display its equipment at the NBFA’s annual conference. Repeatedly John Deere executives have curtly declined the invitation. 

“John Deere has shown throughout its history that it has little respect for black farmers. The company seems to view our invitations as a nuisance,” said NBFA president John Boyd. “I have reached out to Mr. John May, President of John Deere, numerous times to discuss the issues raised by the NBFA. Mr. May’s response is ‘I decline your invitation,’ which is unacceptable.”

The National Black Farmers’ Association (NBFA) President John Boyd has therefore called for boycotts against John Deere.

“We are asking all NBFA members to stop buying John Deere tractors, implements, mowers and parts,” Boyd announced on September 9, 2020.”

 With 116,000 members in 42 states, the NBFA represents a substantial customer base for John Deere. Many farmers would relish the opportunity to see firsthand the new and emerging farm technology that is developed to enhance their performance and productivity.  The attitude John Deere demonstrates is akin to that shown by store owners during the ‘60s when they spurned black patronage with signs saying blacks were not welcome inside.

John Deere faithfully participates at predominantly white farm shows and events while snubbing the black farmers’ events.  White members of the Farm Bureau, for example, not only have John Deere’s attention.  Farm Bureau members also receive discounts on John Deere purchases as a part of their organizational membership.

The equipment company has never displayed any of its equipment– not even a lawn mower– at a black farmer event. This reflects the level of disdain that is still widely prevalent in agricultural industries. 

Since the racial unrest spurred by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the shooting of Jason Blake in Wisconsin last month, many sectors of American society have recently taken to actively protesting the shameful racial disparities in treatment and opportunities that plague people of color.  

John Deere seems to be unmoved by the obvious public response to discriminatory mistreatment.  It is not, however, the only company manufacturing farm equipment.

The National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) members deserve the very same treatment as their white counterparts. 

Boyd says that as an example of the differences in treatment:

 “Service call inquiries to John Deere equipment from black farmers is much slower than their white counterparts.  We buy tractors and John Deere parts as well. We deserve to be treated with dignity and respect not as a nuisance.”

John Deere has not responded to requests for comment by other news organizations.  

 NBFA believes that John Deere has exhibited an overarching lack of consideration for equality and inclusiveness, especially in the wake of recent national protest movements. 

“We are now open to new relationships with companies who value the work of NBFA members,” Boyd said.