A new survey conducted by the Iowa Food and Family Project shows a majority of consumers have a positive impression of farming.
The Consumer Pulse survey, conducted by Campaign HQ of Brooklyn, polled 353 health-conscious Iowans who make the majority of their household's food purchases. Respondents were queried on a variety of food topics, their familiarity with the Iowa FFP and how that familiarity changes their perceptions about today's farms and food system.
Ninety-five percent of respondents say they are "very" and "somewhat" knowledgeable about how the food they purchase is produced, up 6 percentage points from last year and 9 points from 2012. The survey also found 81% of people have a positive impression about farming. Fifteen percent of respondents said farmers "do things right regardless of financial benefit," up 6 percentage points from last year. Sixty-one percent believe growers "balance doing what's right" with profit, while just 14% think farmers are "driven solely by profit," down 4 points from last year.
Farmers like Cristen Clark, who raises pigs and grain near Runnells, Iowa, say these results are important and will help steer future conversations with consumers.
"There is a concerted effort by families to work the land and care for the livestock in a way that allows us to provide the next generation - our children - with a farm that is just as productive or more productive than how we found it," Clark says. "I take pride in passing on farming for my kids just as my great-grandfather did for me. That's a story I want to share."
Iowa FPP began surveying consumers in 2011. Since that time, the survey finds that:
- 10% are more confident that farmers care for the well-being of their livestock
- 9% are more confident that farmers protect the environment
- 9% are more trusting that farmers balance doing what's right with financial considerations
- Consumers are, on average, likely to pay attention to food labels and seek details about how food is grown
Consumers like Paula Hender of Ankeny, Iowa, say they value the opportunity to actively engage in conversations about how food is grown.
Earlier this fall, Hender was selected as a You on the Farm contest winner and, with her husband Derek and sons Jason and Dylan, joined farmers Kevin, Julie, Jacob and Emily Van Manen of Kellogg for corn harvesting. The tour reaffirmed Paula's opinion that farmers have her best interest in mind when it comes to providing wholesome food.
"I have concerns just like other moms and sometimes they lead me to question the choices I make," she says. "I want to be confident and purchase food that tastes good and is good for my family. Connecting with the Food and Family Project and Iowa's farmers has been very helpful."
For more details about the survey’s findings, visit www.iowafoodandfamily.com.