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The summer trifecta of goodwill: Three separate online campaigns tackle U.S. hunger crisis

Maddy Quast for Progressive Dairyman Published on 03 September 2018
women in agriculture

This summer, three standout social media campaigns from dairy organizations are aiming to provide food to the hungry. Each has its own special method, but all are utilizing various social media platforms to generate awareness, raise money and create a better future for both farmers and those in need.

#AllTogetherBetter

Land O’Lakes recently partnered with musicians Maggie Rose and Liz Rose to release a music video. It’s a rewrite of Old MacDonald, titled “She-I-O,” which pays tribute to the female farmers who are changing the face of the agriculture industry.

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The music video is the first installment of Land O’ Lakes’ #AllTogetherBetter campaign, an initiative that promises a donation of $1 to Feeding America for every tag, share and comment on the video up to $100,000. It also serves the dual purpose of emphasizing female roles in the agriculture industry.

Anna Squibb, senior manager of integrated marketing at Land O’Lakes, says she’s excited by the outpouring of positivity surrounding this campaign.

“In a world subdivided by our differences, we believe in the power of unity,” Squibb says. “‘All Together Better’ is about bringing our collective impact to life through our values of inclusion, ingenuity and cooperation.”

According to the USDA, hunger disproportionately affects women, and 3.1 million food-insecure households are led by single women. Land O’Lakes’ partnership with Feeding America is working to help ease the deficit, as well as create awareness of the real needs that exist in every community, big or small.

Land O’Lakes aims to include as many people as possible in their campaign. Contributing is easy: Participants only need to comment, share or tag friends on the new music video or post #AllTogetherBetter to add another dollar to the donation.

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“We plan to continue this commitment of supporting our farmers,” Squibb says. “We wanted to spotlight these female farmers in an effort to change stereotypes and show the important role they play in modern farming.”

Add your voice to the cause by using the #AllTogetherBetter hashtag on your social media accounts or visiting Land O’Lakes’ Facebook page.

#10GallonChallenge Wavrunek family

#10GallonChallenge

Often, it isn’t the big things that make the difference. It’s the small things, adding up to a big effect. That’s the philosophy of Ty Higgins, director of broadcast operations for Ohio Ag Net, who created the #10GallonChallenge. His proposal encourages participants to buy 10 gallons of milk to donate to their local food pantry, then to post it on social media to spread awareness.

Higgins came up with the challenge while grocery shopping with his family. He saw milk was a little over a dollar per gallon, and he decided to purchase 10 extra gallons to take to his local food pantry. He posted a promotional video on Facebook inviting others to do the same, and the idea has since spread like wildfire.

“The goal is twofold,” Higgins says. “First, it’s to help out local people who don’t have access to dairy, but it’s also to help move milk. So instead of buying one gallon of milk to help the dairy farmers out, we’re multiplying that times 10 and helping our community at the same time.”

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Although Higgins started the challenge in Ohio, the effects have been widespread. 

“By following the hashtag, I started seeing people all the way in Washington state, California, Arizona, Texas, the Carolinas and New York participating,” Higgins says. “Every time I put that hashtag out on Facebook or Twitter, I see new pictures and stories of families taking the challenge. That’s the best part for me.”

Higgins has been astounded by the longevity of the project and doesn’t plan to stop promoting.

“I thought that people might do it one time and not do it again,” Higgins says. “But I’ve had multiple people send videos and pictures of them going back again and again to that pantry they donated to the first time. It’s making a difference for those in need and for the farmers. It’s an overall win-win.”

You can participate in this initiative by posting a photo of your donation on your social media accounts with #10GallonChallenge.

#PutYourHerdFirst Ann Mesman

#PutYourHerdFirst

Cargill Animal Nutrition is celebrating the launch of their new line of calf and heifer nutrition, HerdFirst, with a new Facebook campaign that also benefits the hungry. Cargill has pledged to donate three servings of milk – the recommended daily amount – to the Great American Milk Drive for every person who uses the HerdFirst Facebook frame and hashtag #PutYourHerdFirst from now until Oct. 31.

“We wanted to celebrate the dairy farmers who put their herds first every day through brand awareness and fulfilling our corporate mission of nourishing the world,” says Rebecca Shaw, dairy marketing specialist at Cargill. “Milk is a nutritional powerhouse that is one of the most requested items at food banks, but least donated.”

Cargill chose the Great American Milk Drive largely because of their activism. 

“The Great American Milk Drive has done a tremendous job raising awareness for the need to donate milk to food banks,” Shaw says. “On average, Feeding America food banks are only able to provide less than one gallon of milk per person per year. Being able to help fill that need and support dairy farmers at the same time made it a win for everyone.”

As of now, Cargill has stated that they are about 25 percent of the way to their goal, but are optimistic about reaching 100,000 servings by the end of October.

“The struggles that our customers and all dairy farmers are facing are very real,” Shaw says. “We also recognize there are still people out there who are hungry and undernourished, and need access to dairy nutrition. #PutYourHerdFirst is a powerful message we plan to keep building with the stories of our customers. I’m excited to see where we take it after the donation campaign ends.”

You can add the #PutYourHerdFirst frame to your Facebook profile picture here.

#10GallonChallenge New Mexico Milkmaid

Hitting home

Blogger Tara Vander Dussen, also known as the “New Mexico Milkmaid” online, has participated in the #10GallonChallenge and the #PutYourHerdFirst campaign. She has used both as an opportunity to teach her family and readers about the spirit of giving.

“I decided to blog about the #10GallonChallenge and #PutYourHerdFirst campaign in hopes of encouraging more people to join in,” Vander Dussen says. “I know that purchasing 10 gallons of milk might not be in everyone's budget, but changing your Facebook profile for #PutYourHerdFirst costs nothing! Either way, you would still be supporting your local food banks with dairy products.”

Vander Dussen says she has noticed a shortage of milk at her food bank. Even though milk is one of the most requested foods, it is one of the least available. Especially with school beginning again, she felt the need was greater than ever.

“I decided to include my girls in the #10GallonChallenge,” she recalls. “My oldest had a ton of fun with it and loved helping buy the milk and bringing it into the food bank. I think it is important for her to understand that we are blessed to have milk with every one of our meals, but not everyone is able to afford that. It is our responsibility to give back to our community when we are able.”

Vander Dussen says that she hopes all will take a little time to participate in each of these campaigns. The effort might seem unimportant, but every community will greatly benefit from a little goodwill and charity. And it can start with a simple gallon of milk.  end mark

Maddy Quast is a 2018 Progressive Dairyman editorial intern.

PHOTO 1: Three of the female farmers highlighted in the She-I-O music video. Photo courtesy of Audra Mulkern, The Female Farmer Project.

PHOTO 2: Smiling members of the Wavrunek family showcasing their 30-gallon milk donation. Photos courtesy of Wavrunek Dairy, Denmark, Wisconsin.

PHOTO 3: Ann Mesman promoting the Facebook frame “I put my herd first.” Photo courtesy of Cargill.

PHOTO 4: Tara Vander Dussen’s milk donation in the car on the way to the food bank. Photo courtesy of Tara Vander Dussen.

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