P.O. Box 253, Kunia, Hawai’i 96759
August 21, 2014
Agriculture in Hawaii and across the nation is under attack. Farms and ranches are being targeted for increased regulations, moratoriums and outright bans on modern farming practices, including the use of biotechnology, pesticides and herbicides.
Hawaii stands on the front lines of these attacks. Hawaii’s political landscape has made our State and farming industries across the country vulnerable to these strategic battles.
We are losing ground and need your help.
The evidence is clear:
Recent biotechnology ban and registry passed on Hawaii Island; currently being challenged in court.
Biotechnology and pesticide disclosures and buffer zones passed on Kauai; currently being implemented while being challenged in court.
Ballot initiative advancing on Maui that could lead to a County Charter Amendment banning biotechnology.
A leading and well‐funded anti‐agriculture activist organization the Center for Food Safety has recently opened an office in Honolulu, and has partnered with Eartjustice, a law firm founded by the Sierra Club and specializing in environmental litigation.
State legislature introduced bills on GMO labeling and glyphosate ban.
Why this important to you, your company, your organization:
Hawaii is home to the seed‐producing industry. Our tropical climate features up to four growth cycles per year. Seeds used on your operations are likely produced here. They are the highest value agricultural crop produced in Hawaii.
There is a well‐funded effort to drive these producers out of Hawaii. Success by activists will likely have a negative impact on your farm practices, yields, and your bottom line if these leading seed products are forced out of production in Hawaii.
Hawaii Farm Bureau has been at the front lines at the State legislature. We see the political will of lawmakers falter as pressure is applied by activists and their well‐funded campaigns of misinformation.
To counter this, we have developed a comprehensive public relations campaign intended to win the hearts and minds of voters and shore up support for ALL agricultural producers. We aim to accomplish this by telling the stories of farmers and ranchers, taking the mystery out of farming and ranching practices, and strategically projecting the good will and positive images associated with farmers onto their activities.
We know what to do and how to do it, but we ask for your help executing the plan.
Our budget is approximately $400,000 per year. It includes targeted messaging delivered by print, electronic (radio, TV and internet) and social media and utilizes guerilla marketing techniques.
Across the nation, farmers and ranchers have been caught off guard by extremist activists that will stop at nothing to realize their utopian, misinformed and unsustainable vision of how you should farm.
Imagine if this energy was expended moving agriculture forward. The saddest parts of these attacks are the divisions created within the ag sector; pitting food against non‐food, organic versus conventional. These divisions weaken our industry and deter investment. Worse, farmers and ranchers are demonized to the point where young people are further dissuaded from entering careers in agriculture‐ while activists selfishly attempt to advance their own agendas and political careers.
Please join us in thwarting these efforts by countering with positive fact‐based messages before you find yourself fighting these same issues in your communities.
Yours in Agriculture,
P.O. Box 253, Kunia, Hawai’i 96759
Phone: (808) 848‐2074
Small Farmers, Big Stories Public Relations Campaign v.2
Agriculture in Hawaii is presently under attack.
While the working farmers and ranchers of Hawaii were busy growing crops, feeding their families and the citizens of Hawaii, and contributing to the economy and their communities, non‐farmers that are unfriendly toward modern agriculture, many located out of state, have waged a campaign of political and environmental activism. Fueled with misinformation designed to illicit fear and suspicion in the community and divide the ag sector (e.g. food vs. non‐food, organic vs. conventional), these efforts are aimed at driving modern production agriculture out of business in favor of a Utopian, homespun agricultural model that, if successful, would destroy more than two centuries of evolution in agricultural practices in Hawaii. Moreover, a successful activist campaign would erase decades of accomplishments on behalf of government and non‐ government organizations alike; to build food security and grow the next generation of Hawaii’s farmers and ranchers. Worse, this ill conceived and thinly‐veiled environmentalist model has no hope of practical success, being woefully inadequate to keep pace with the hordes of invasive pests and weeds that have been introduced to Hawaii. Its success would cause the collapse of agriculture in Hawaii and have reaching impacts beyond our shores.
Why is this important?
Hawaii, and some other states, have been identified as politically vulnerable and have been targeted for this activist campaign. Much of agriculture on the US mainland and beyond depends upon Hawaii’s seed industry for crop traits that help mainland operations achieve success. Hawaii’ s tropical climate features up to four crops cycles per year. This enables researchers and producers to test, evaluate and develop traits and produce products up to four times faster than on the US mainland. The true impact of Hawaii’s seed industry on US Agriculture cannot be overstated. In the unfortunate event that these industries were squeezed out of Hawaii, food and energy prices would be negatively impacted worldwide, since much of the crops grown from these products are used in foods, and are widely used in the production of livestock feed and ethanol.
What’s more, legislation that recently passed in Hawaii could be precedent‐setting for other communities across the country. Recent gains made by activist forces empower their cause. Legal and financial resources quickly pour in to fuel the fight against farmers. One bill passed on Hawaii Island bans biotechnology outright with scant few exceptions. Another measure passed on Kauai establishes a cumbersome pesticide use reporting system, coupled with wide buffer zones and notifications, and a biotechnology registry. A GMO moratorium is on the ballot on Maui this election season.
Farmers and ranchers are widely outnumbered in public testimony. They comprise only about 1% of the population while growing food for the other 99%. Legislators need our support in terms of messaging and public relations that enable them to support the growers. Farmers and ranchers have been unable to wage an effective campaign to tell their stories in the face of rabid activism.
What can we do?
Farmers and ranchers have been busy working to produce food and non‐food crops, they were unaware of the necessity and were ill‐prepared to defend their practices and lifestyle. The focus of this project is to wage a superior and positive campaign based on truth and verifiable facts‐ one that supports and defends modern agricultural practices by telling the stories of farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural heroes like restaurateurs, teachers, writers, researchers and government officials.
Focus groups have shown that public perception of farmers and images relating to recognizable farm activates rank high in terms of favorability, however their practices generally do not. This perception is based on confusion, misinformation and a lack of knowledge about farming practices and livestock handling.
The goal of this Small Farmers, Big Stories campaign is to open up the farm virtually, to invite the public to understand sound farming practices and leverage the good will elicited by positive and recognizable farming and ranching images and project them onto their operational practices.
It is a stated goal of this campaign to hold farmers and ranchers in high esteem to the point of attracting young farmers, ranchers and researchers to careers in agriculture, impacting future generations while addressing social, economic and environmental sustainability.
Restore Ag Hawaii, as a quarterly, full color, glossy Hawaii Farm Bureau publication
Agriculture Hawaii debuted as a quarterly magazine in January 2000. Prior to that, it had been in the form of a long‐standing newsletter that was primarily distributed to HFB members. In February 2011, The Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation embarked for the first time to publish the magazine in‐house. The name of the magazine was changed to Ag Hawaii to address a broader publication appeal rather than the traditional industry focused journal. Utilizing a freelance designer, photographer, staff writers, and industry contributions, we produced six issues. Because not enough effort was allocated toward advertising sales, an unacceptable burden was placed on HFBFs overall budget. The last issue was published in September 2012.
Ag Hawaii content was historically geared toward the industry and not the general public. Since wider distribution is a goal, this focus needs to change. More human interest stories as well as timely, issue‐ oriented pieces will be covered. Additionally, a business section, government affairs, as well as ‘foodie’ articles and other interesting stories will be featured. The website will also feature Ag Hawaii content and back issues
Outside of HFBF membership, Ag Hawaii was being distributed through HFBF farmers’ markets and Whole Foods on Oahu and Maui. Feedback from Whole Foods has been overwhelmingly positive. We’re told Whole Foods distributes several free publications and Ag Hawaii is typically at the tops the list.
Renew Hawaii Farm Bureau Website
Create new, comprehensive and modern HFBF website complete with frequently updated content, events, government affairs, professional images, integral blog, social media links and Ag Hawaii content and back issues. Internal staff will have the capability to update as necessary
Blog content development:
Interview two farmers on four major islands and one each for Molokai and Lanai. Gather photos and prepare average 350‐word blog for insertion on HFBF website. Blog to illustrate how farmer lives the campaign message. Get recommendations on candidates from each island. Coordinate with social media team for postings.
Farmer‐HDOA & UH CTAHR Researcher‐Administrator Blog Series
Perform interviews on four major islands and one each for Molokai and Lanai to gather photos and prepare average 350‐word blog for insertion on HFBF website. Blog illustrates how local UH CTAHR researchers have aided HFBF farmers with growing a commodity. Coordinate with social media team for postings.
Prepare ad copy using above farmer’s info and campaign message. Each farmer’s story will change but campaign message will remain constant.
These print ads will run regularly, but with flexibility, on all major islands in the following outlets:
Honolulu Star Advertiser‐Oahu
West Hawaii Today‐ Kona, Hawaii Island
The Garden Island‐ Kauai
Hawaii Tribune Herald‐Hilo, Hawaii Island
Using interview developed for the blog, HFBF will prepare marketing copy for a two‐sided rack card. One side will share what each of 10 farmers produces, describe his/her lifestyle and display photos. The opposite side would contain the campaign message and be repeated for all cards. These would be distributed at HFB farmers markets, Hawaii Farm Fair, retail markets and at meetings and events, and could be target mailed.
Ad copy will be prepared using campaign messages and farmer’s storylines. The overarching campaign message will remain constant but radio ads will be tailored to current events and may contain ‘Calls to Action’. They will run on 11 stations on all major islands for the duration of the campaign.
On‐Air Interviews: HFB will solicit three Oahu network TV stations and negotiate live appearances for pre‐event interviews. Stations will be provides with background material.
30‐second spots will be produced using campaign messages and farmer’s storylines. The overarching campaign message will remain constant and agricultural ‘heroes’ will be highlighted. They will run during news programming and primetime during the following programs during the life of the campaign:
Hawaii News Now
Big Bang Theory
CBS NFL Early Game
CBS NFL Early Post‐ Game
The Good Wife
Setup Farmer’s Market Fan Page.
Connect tracking and management systems.
Invite social media community members who are not currently fans to like the page.
Connect tracking and management systems.
Invite and follow appropriate targeted followers, including media, consumers, and other influential people in the social media community.
Setup account for Farmer’s Market.
Setup account for Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation.
Follow appropriate targeted followers, including media, consumers, and other influential people in the social media community.
Facebook Fan Page Management
Grow the community
Actively seek out opportunities to engage with the community at large.
Watch various updates in networking streams to provide engagement content.
Photos will be posted as necessary to highlight new features, events, etc.
Regular visits to Oahu‐based Farmer’s Markets to gather content.
Comments will be monitored and managed.
Messages will be answered as necessary.
Twitter Account Management
Tweet at least once a day at a minimum, seven days a week.
Include photos or links if available or as provided.
Pre‐promote and cover events with advance notification and within reason.
Communicate daily with followers and engage on the public timeline.
Grow followers within Twitter limits
Equalize followers to ensure each account follows as many qualified followers as possible.
Ensure the follower base includes influential people in the Hawaii market and the media.
Seek out influential people in the Hawaii market, media and power users locally and on the mainland and internationally where possible.
Filter account followers on an ongoing basis to weed out spammers and bots.
Monitor account for suspicious activity and to counteract hacking.
New information or links will be sent out regularly, with repetition of information at different times of day to capture different audiences.
Instagram Account Management
Instagram will be primarily be used as a tool for capturing photos and short videos. Content will be shared to the appropriate Twitter and/or Facebook accounts.
1. Regular visits to the different Oahu‐based Farmer’s Markets and other events to gather content. Content will be shared between accounts as applicable.
Generate Social Media Statistical Reports
A recap report on the activity and growth of the social media accounts will be generated monthly.
Member Social Media Workshops
Social Media “Getting Started” Workshops will be offered to HFBF members who are not currently on social media but would like to get started or learn more about how social media works. The workshop will be a “hands on” session where the attendees will be walked through the process of signing up for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. They will also be given instruction on how to best use the systems and some simple strategies for developing content and growing their communities.
To generate customer interest and engagement to grow our network including:
Facebook contest: Through a third‐party application, run contests to have customers submit photos and have their friends vote on the favorite one. In order to enter or vote, with the app requiring the person to like the page first.
Twitter/Instagram contest: Build awareness by running contests using Twitter. This might include random drawings from hashtags, trivia Q&A, retweet of the day, and more.
Leveraged exposure through contractor’s online network
Team will augment the client's online exposure through extensive personal and business networks, and through the accounts currently managed, as appropriate.
Tweets about significant events, will be re‐tweeted to a network of followers. This will not be done immediately—re‐tweets will be staggered to catch different Twitter users.
Accounts may tweet about the client in “first person,” if there is a personal experience to be shared. This can then be re‐tweeted by the appropriate account to show the endorsement. This system of tweeting and sharing will also help gain new followers.
Use tools, applications, and hardware essential for optimal social media presence.
. Guerilla Marketing
Author and submit issue‐specific op‐eds to newspapers and magazines statewide that underscore the messages of the campaign.
Letters to editors
Submit strategically timed LTEs and online comments to articles that highlight campaign messages.
Customized Temporary Tattoos
Issued at events, school presentations to children and teens. Self‐application of peel and stick logo for fun branding.
Customized face painting at events creates a memorable experience for young people and other event attendees, and creates photo opportunities.
School Garden Presenters
HFBF members talk‐story with school garden program members. Farmer tells story about their operations and provide talking points to share the campaign message. Students are provided with handout sharing campaign message. Coordinate 3 talks on four islands in 12 schools. Includes coordination with schools, farmers, notifying media, and design & printing of 400 handouts that re‐enforce the campaign messages.
Outreach to Island Chef Associations: Strengthen farmer/chef partnerships
Talk‐story with each island chapter (4) of the American Culinary Federation. Farmers would be provided with talking points to share the campaign message and that more regulations increase the price of food. Farmer discusses what products he produces and the challenges he faces to grow food. Small Farmer Story rack cards would be distributed.
Idea for 2015: Do the same thing with statewide college culinary students
Outreach to Chefs at Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range
Target 35 chefs, 30 food producers and 1800 attendees/volunteers at Hilton Waikoloa Village. Host a free educational booth to share campaign rack cards, temporary tattoos and HFBF collateral materials. Booth would be staffed by farmers featured on the rack cards.
Idea for 2015: Have a presentation by a HFBF meat producer that drives the campaign message to be given as the class for culinary students.
Idea for 2015: do similar outreach at other commodity events statewide and at neighbor island farm fairs. Make a calendar of those to do and organize who does which.
Our annual budget details are available on request.
Our campaign is nimble because our program allows us to pivot quickly; by responding to local issues and allocating resources to a particular island depending on what the political landscape dictates throughout the duration of the campaign.
Mahalo for your support!