Develop Messages

In regenerative agriculture, we are often (with justifiable reason) focused on the environmental outcome of the behavior change we’re striving towards. In designing outreach, though, we have to consider that the outcome that matters to us might not be the outcome that motivates a producer to take on the change we’re asking for. 

For example, we may want a producer to implement cover crops because they help sequester carbon or increase soil fertility. The farmer might see the main benefit of implementing cover crops as increased yield or leaving the operation more productive for the next generation.

Additionally, tiny nuances in the outreach’s wording, visuals and tone can make a significant difference in the way that it’s received. If we found that this particular group of farmers loves hunting in Step 2, we can use visuals related to outdoor recreation to promote regenerative agriculture practices like wetland restoration.

Crafting messages that accelerate the speed towards the achievement of the goal is an intentional process that requires aligning the insights we have about farmers with actionable applications in our outreach design. By developing tailored and persuasive messages based on a deep understanding of the audience, we can effectively communicate the value of our regenerative agriculture program and inspire action towards the defined goal.

What We Did

Outreach for the project was designed to focus on the three values that came through as predominant for the producers in area of work:

  • Leadership, defined as a group of producers that value being a leader and making decisions about their own land.
  • Protection, defined as a group of producers interested in high yields, regulation, risk management, tools and services.
  • Legacy, defined as a group of producers that values family and passing the farm down to the next generation.

Calls to action on outreach material reflected these values back to producers with wording such as “Protecting the land. It’s my promise.” and “Leaving it better. It’s my promise.”

Trust In Food flagged producers across the project area according to their dominant set of values, including a group of producers with the highest levels of legacy/leadership, and a group of producers with the highest levels of interest in protection. All producers were served all material, but metrics show that producers chose to engage with the material most closely aligned with their tagged values.

Materials featuring the value most strongly aligned with the producer’s own inspired action nearly twice as frequently.

Make it Happen

Download the worksheet to start developing your project’s messages now.

Sample Engagement Themes

Data gathered in Step 2 should be directly reflected in your campaign imagery. Leveraging your data-driven insights in your messaging helps promote accelerated engagement.


Insights from Sustainability Engagement Leaders

Informed Communication for Effective Engagement

“Everyone wants farms to be resilient and productive, but companies, consumers, government partners, NGOs, and farmers use different language to talk about it. We are all worried about drought, but one group may talk about climate change, while the farmer may reference the weather. To scale change, we need to effectively communicate with producers. This playbook provides insights on how to build effective engagement and outreach.

Stefani Millie Grant