Perdue AgriBusiness encountered surprising opposition when it sought to build a soybean processing plant in Lancaster, Pa. A small but vocal group argued that the plant would create pollution -- despite science to the contrary.
The project was designed to alleviate Pennsylvania’s shortage of soybean meal, which is used as a feed ingredient by the state’s dairy and livestock industries. And it figured to be an economic boon for local soybean farmers, who had to ship their soybeans out of state for processing.
Perdue asked Ceisler to conduct a grassroots and media campaign to both explain the science and the financial benefits of building the plant.
Ceisler associates traveled the area around Lancaster and York counties and helped Perdue officials organize town meetings and forums and put on presentations to explain the benefits of the soybean processing plant.
Ceisler also directed a proactive media campaign, making sure that positive news of the project was released first --- and accurately --- so that Perdue’s message would take the headlines away from opponents and residents stayed informed every step of the way during permitting.
When it came time for hearings, Ceisler’s team helped Perdue build a coalition of supporters, enlisting scientists, local and regional economic groups, agricultural associations, area residents and local farmers, working with them to deliver the best message.
After a multi-year campaign, the plant’s permits were approved. On Sept. 17, 2017, company Chairman Jim Perdue and Gov. Tom Wolf flipped the switch to open the state-of-the-art soybean processing plant. It represents an investment of more than $60 million in Pennsylvania agriculture and local communities.