The John Deere Corporation, in response to a boycott initiated last year by National Black Farmers Association President John Boyd, has formed a coalition in support of the farmers, but the association says the gesture is an effort to circumvent their boycott.
Boyd, who oversees the Virginia-based organization of 116 members, maintains that John Deere’s actions reek of inequitable treatment of Black farmers, even amid the boycott.
“After years of discrimination, the boycott draws attention to John Deere’s unfairness and lack of respect and delayed responsiveness for the NBFA and its members,” Boyd said in a statement. “Deere for over a decade declined to participate in the NBFA’s annual conference or display new equipment and parts as it does at other agricultural industry events. After NBFA members purchase from Deere, the company responds slowly, if at all, to calls for service on its equipment and shuts down its tractors by computer connections if owners try to make repairs themselves.”
Boyd added that three years ago, a trade group representing John Deere promised the farmers it would help prevent lawmakers from passing regulations that would make at-home tractor repair impossible for farmers and force them to go to John Deere-certified dealerships for even the simplest of repairs.
“Basically, Deere was promising that the services it was providing would do some of the work of the laws, so there was no point in actually passing those laws,” the association said in the statement. “But Deere never had any plans to make repairs easier. It’s been three years. Deere got what it wanted. The farmers haven’t.”