Canadians continue to have a positive impression of farmers and the industry but knowing about producers and how their food is grown isn’t the most important matter to them, according to a new Farm & Food Care Ontario survey.
Food’s rising cost as well as increased costs for health care and energy were among the top concerns listed on the 2012 Farm & Food Care Canadian Attitudes Towards Food and Farming Study.
The survey, using Ipsos Reid’s I-Say Online Household Panel, was conduced in mid August among 1,229 Canadian adults that had no household connection to agriculture.
The 2012 survey found that 56 per cent of Canadians have a very or somewhat positive impression of Canadian agriculture, while 32 per cent are neutral. The percentage of people with a positive impression of farming and farmers is up from 2009 when it was 52 per cent and 2006 when it was 41 per cent.
In addition, more people say they’re better informed about food and farming practices. Fifty-two per cent of Canadians in the 2012 survey say they know at least a little about the industry and more than half of them are interested in learning more. The number of Canadians who are informed about the agricultural industry is up from 48 per cent in 2009.
Crystal Mackay, Farm & Food Care executive director, says the organization uses the survey as a report card for agriculture, food and farming in Canada. The growth in positive attitudes towards farming and the positive impressions Canadians have of farmers means the industry has definitely earned an ‘A’, she says.
This is the fourth survey that has been done since 2001. Mackay notes that the organization looks to see where the good news spots are and what needs improvement. “Even more importantly we identify areas of question where consumers say they’re not sure or they have concerns. Then we try to address those through our public outreach efforts.”
This year’s survey was expanded to gather public opinion on the five pillars of sustainable food – food safety, environment, farm animal health and welfare, human health and economies/food affordability.
The industry needs to work on some areas where almost one-third of Canadians say they’re neutral or unsure, including the environment, food safety and animal welfare. Mackay says the industry needs to “make our story louder, our voices louder to reach those people with the facts.”
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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