Ag Vision for the Next Decade: Uniting California Agriculture Around a Common Vision
strategic plan developed to unite California agriculture stakeholders
rounds of inputs – task force interviews, State Board interviews, group roundtable discussions, widely distributed survey – to secure a diverse set of voices
farmers, ranchers and agricultural stakeholders shared their input
California crops represented
farmers and ranchers united
media coverage impressions secured
California is the nation’s top agricultural state, producing more than 400 crops throughout its rich landscape – but ensuring California agriculture continues to thrive well into the future requires collaboration.
In 2021, NST helped the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) along with the State Board of Food and Agriculture develop a strategic plan to unite California agriculture around a common vision and course of action to ensure success for California agriculture and Californians for the decades ahead. The plan – Ag Vision for the Next Decade – was born from a comprehensive process aligning a broad variety of agricultural stakeholders. Given the diversity of agriculture in the Golden State, the challenge was significant.
NST knew the success of this strategic planning process was predicated on inclusivity, ensuring a range of voices contributed to the process – from dairy and livestock farmers to berry growers and tree nut producers – along with processors and supply chain partners and historically underserved farmers.
To gather the diverse input NST required, the team conducted both individual interviews and group roundtable discussions. The confidential and candid one-on-one interviews allowed for a comprehensive dialogue, yielding contextual information about the industry’s perceived strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Additionally, seven roundtable discussions were held with members of a thoughtfully selected task force, representing the diverse geographic regions and crops grown in California, and with various segments of California agriculture and the State Board of Food and Agriculture. To ensure all voices were heard in the process and cast a wider net, NST conducted a survey distributed broadly to California food and agricultural stakeholders.
Equipped with all the inputs, the task force was charged with providing the leadership and direction needed to develop the plan. NST guided the task force with expert facilitation, identifying key concepts and refining the terms within the plan. Drafts of the plan were shared with various subsets of California agriculture for refinement and to gain support.
The result was a plan introduced in early April of 2023, with a vision centered on growing opportunity — for farmers and ranchers, farmworkers, individuals and communities — and demonstrating leadership on climate action. Among the planning effort’s most significant accomplishments was the development of a common purpose for California agriculture: Making California a better place to live because of what we grow and how we grow it. With a bold vision and strong purpose, it was time for California agriculture to roll out Ag Vision.
To rollout Ag Vision to California audiences and communicate how it will impact every Californian, NST crafted a multifaceted rollout campaign that included stakeholder message training, video and digital content creation and promotion, public webinars, earned media outreach, and virtual road shows. NST created eye-catching digital assets for online promotion, including a video describing the plan with beautiful California landscapes as the backdrop. The video was modified into three different lengths and languages to accommodate various online mediums, ensuring audience attention and engagement. All digital assets were organized within an online “toolbox” and shared with stakeholders, to encourage further promotion of the plan.
The launch of the plan was initiated through strategic media relations efforts, followed by the facilitation of a public webinar hosted by CDFA Secretary Karen Ross and promotion on CDFA’s website and social media channels. NST pitched select California consumer media and agricultural trade publications and coordinated interviews with Secretary Ross. The team gathered compelling testimonials from members of the California State Board, which showed leadership and commitment behind the plan, bolstering its legitimacy. Strategic media outreach efforts resulted in more than a dozen pieces of coverage, equating to more than 4 million impressions.
The plan was well received and engaged California’s agricultural stakeholders and community leaders – representing 400 California crops and uniting 80,000 farmers and ranchers – in an inclusive, transparent and comprehensive outreach process that united the disparate voices of California agriculture.