All For Farmers: Tillamook County Creamery Association and American Farmland Trust
Tillamook County Creamery Association (“Tillamook”) is a 112-year-old farmer-founded dairy co-operative and Certified B Corporation® headquartered in Tillamook, Oregon. Five years ago, Tillamook cheese, ice cream and other premium dairy products could be found primarily in the Pacific Northwest. Today, Tillamook products can be found throughout the country.
“All For Farmers” was created in response to the challenges that farmers have encountered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In May, Tillamook announced a $4 million relief plan to help employees and communities where the co-op operates. The plan included expanded sick pay for employees, expanded food and monetary donations to food security and child health organizations, an employee donation matching program, and a new resilience fund to revitalize local small businesses.
Then, Tillamook looked beyond Oregon’s borders to focus on the challenges that farmers of all types, sizes and geographies were facing. In many parts of the country, farmers were forced to give away or even destroy the food they produced due to closed restaurants and distribution challenges. Additionally, COVID-19 struck at a time when many farmers were already financially struggling. An estimated 580 farmers filed for Chapter 12 bankruptcy protection in the 12-month period ending June 30, 2020, an 8% increase from a year earlier.
In September, Tillamook announced their “All For Farmers” campaign, a partnership with American Farmland Trust (AFT), a national, nonprofit organization with a mission to save America’s farms and ranches by protecting farmland, promoting environmentally sound farming practices, and keeping farmers on the land.
The goals for this campaign were to:
- Motivate sales of Tillamook products to raise money for AFT
- Inform consumers about the challenges farmers face and
- Generate positive earned media and social media coverage for the Tillamook brand.
To do this, Tillamook pledged to donate 10% of profits from Tillamook product sales in grocery stores to AFT to provide financial relief directly to farmers.
To draw attention to the effort and help consumers better understand the truly essential nature of farming and the diverse communities contained therein, Tillamook partnered with Eva Longoria, an award-winning actor and longtime advocate for farmers and farmworkers. Longoria helped Tillamook educate consumers about the financial plight of today’s farmers through social media and a series of media interviews.
Tillamook also produced web videos and social media content profiling the stories of a diverse group of farmers across the country which were shared on Tillamook’s campaign website and social channels. Tillamook also invited consumers to show their own support by thanking farmers on social media using the hashtag #AllForFarmers throughout September and leading up to National Farmer’s Day in October. To incorporate some fun for Tillamook fans, the brand also awarded 10 people who used the campaign hashtag on social media with free ice cream for a year.
As a result, All For Farmers ultimately raised $1.6 million for farmers throughout the country in just one month, AFT’s largest donation to date. In turn, AFT used the donation to protect farmland and to launch a new “Brighter Futures Microgrants” program which supported underrepresented farmers with diversity in age, gender, ethnicity, geography, and farm size and type. In total, 510 applications were received, and 130 grant awards were made to farmers in 25 states. Of the grant recipients, 96% went to underserved or underrepresented farmers including female, non-binary, LGBTQ+, BIPOC and beginning farmers.
- 85% represent farms under 100 acres
- 70% went to first-time farmers
- 74% were female
- 60% identify as LGBTQ+ or BIPOC
Additionally, the campaign earned a total of 39 interviews for Tillamook spokespeople including stories on Cheddar, NBC Latino, Huffington Post and Food & Wine. Social media coverage included 4 videos shared on Longoria’s social media channels resulting in a higher-than-typical engagement rate.
During the campaign, Tillamook.com had an increase in web traffic of 439% while the AFT website saw its highest traffic of 2020 during the All For Farmers campaign timeframe.
In addition to the farmer grants, a large portion of the campaign donation went directly to AFT’s mission to preserve farmland for future generations. Tillamook provided funds to help farmers put agricultural easements on their lands, which protects farmland from development in perpetuity and makes farming more affordable for current and future generations. As of this submission, AFT has preserved 8,500 acres of farmland as a result of the Tillamook donation.