Daisy the cow leads charge as CT dairy farmers seek state funding

In 2008, the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA) came just shy of its goal to pass legislation that would aid the state's ailing $1 billion dairy industry, which is facing rising production costs and the possible loss of farms.

Client: Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (Windsor, CT)
PR agency:
Precision Marketing (Windsor, CT)
Campaign:
Save Dairy
Duration:
February-July 2009
Budget:
About $8,000

In 2008, the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA) came just shy of its goal to pass legislation that would aid the state's ailing $1 billion dairy industry, which is facing rising production costs and the possible loss of farms. The CFBA realized that to set itself apart from other groups vying for scarce government money, a new approach to engage constituents was key.

"Our goal was to get a long-term solution for the pricing situation," says Steve Reviczky, executive director at CFBA. "Times have changed and we needed to change our message and be open minded."

Strategy
Working with Precision Marketing, the group developed jargon-free messaging about dairy farms going under and the impact of the industry in Connecticut, says Chris Watts, president of Precision.

The team also set up a Web site, www.ctmilk.org, with photos, news, and a petition supporting the legislation.

Tactics
The team organized two events outside the Hartford Capitol "hosted" by Daisy, a live cow (pictured), including a press conference for media and government, and a rally for farmers, students, and state residents.

Tactics also included a Facebook page for Daisy and outreach to bipartisan government officials, environmental groups, blogs, political sites, regional broadcast and news media, and editorial writers.

Results
In July, the bill passed, establishing a two-year fund totaling $16 million for farmers.

Daisy secured more than 1,000 Facebook friends, including the state's governor. In addition, 1,000-plus people signed the online petition.

"People wanted to be part of the moment," says Reviczky.

Future
The team will work to maintain and further awareness of the state's dairy industry.

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