Tractor Supply looks to close the digital divide
Tractor Supply Company, which continued to ramp up its tech efforts in 2020, announced that that it is joining the American Connection Project Broadband Coalition (ACPBC) to bring high-speed internet infrastructure to rural areas.
The Brentwood, Tenn.-based farm and ranch retailer said that, by joining the coalition, it will look to leverage its resources to help bridge the rural digital divide.
Through the Tractor Supply Company Foundation, the retailer will donate $1 for every download of its mobile app before the end of 2020, up to $1 million, to the efforts of the American Connection Project. According to Tractor Supply, the initiative is one of several the company is pursuing in its effort to increase internet connectivity in rural communities.
“As the largest rural lifestyle retailer in the United States, Tractor Supply is committed to supporting those who live and love this lifestyle,” said Hal Lawton, president and CEO of Tractor Supply. “Internet connectivity is vital to conducting business, accessing healthcare, and learning across America, yet our rural communities seldom have it.”
Lawton noted that the nation relies heavily on these communities, “so it is imperative we all work together to ensure they have what they need to thrive.”
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that roughly 18 million Americans lack access to broadband, the majority of whom are in rural America. And according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, roughly 60% of farmers in the U.S. lack sufficient connectivity to run their business, while 25% of farms have no internet access whatsoever.
“Like Land O’Lakes and so many of our partners in the American Connection Project Broadband Coalition, Tractor Supply Company understands that strong businesses are enabled by strong communities that provide strong operating environments,” said Beth Ford, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc. and a member of the ACPBC. “The coronavirus pandemic has shown how dependent we all are on being connected to one another, and how much those who lack reliable internet access are at risk of falling behind. We are enormously grateful that Tractor Supply is joining our coalition, and we look forward to working with them to close the digital divide.”
The ACPBC includes more than 100 companies and organizations that are working to bring high-speed internet access to all U.S. households.
IIn July, Tractor Supply launched its first-ever mobile app to provide a more convenient way for customers to shop their favorite products straight from their mobile device without relying on a computer or Wi-Fi.
The app, which helps customers shop faster, track orders, schedule deliveries, and check Neighbor’s Club rewards, is available through the Apple Store or on Google Play. Tractor Supply said that it is actively rolling out new features to the app to improve shopping convenience and accessibility.
With more than 1,880 stores in 49 states, Tractor Supply also said that it is launching a pilot program, which provides free Wi-Fi access from select store parking lots during operating hours. This will allow the public to have high-speed internet access, excluding streaming capabilities, from the privacy and social distance of their vehicles.