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General public lacks ag awareness -- study

Agriculture.com Staff 09/23/2011 @ 4:07pm

Results of 2 surveys released this week show the general public in the U.S. generally lacks access to information about agriculture, as well as "no interest or passion for how food is grown and raised in the U.S.," according to the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), who gathered the survey data and released it this week as part ofThe Food Dialogues, a 4-city event to share agriculture's role in the U.S. with the general public.

"Americans have a lot of questions about where their food comes from, how it is raised and if it is good for their health long-term," says Bob Stallman, chairman of USFRA and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation in a report from USFRA.

Additional information gleaned from the surveys includes:

  • 72 percent of consumers know nothing or very little about farming or ranching
  • 69 percent of consumers think about food production at least somewhat often
  • 70 percent say purchase decisions are affected by how food is grown and raised, with three-quarters (72 percent) of Americans saying they think about this topic while purchasing groceries
  • 42 percent or two-in-five Americans say the way that food is grown and raised has improved in the last 10 years, while a slightly smaller group say it has worsened (37 percent)
  • Those who say the way that food is grown and raised has improved cite food safety (22 percent) and food quality (17 percent), whereas respondents who said the way food is grown and raised has worsened also cite food safety (21 percent) and food quality (21 percent)
  • Of all the aspects of how food is grown and raised, Americans are most satisfied with the availability of healthy foods (73 percent) and food safety standards  (66 percent)
  • One in five consumers who say food production has worsened in the last 10 years cite environmental impact as the top area of demise
  • 79 percent of consumers say producing healthy choices for all consumers is very important for farmers and ranchers to consider when planning farming and ranching practices.

"We hope the results of the survey combined with today's Food Dialogues event will continue the conversation between farmers, ranchers and anyone who is interested in learning more about how food is grown and raised in the U.S.," adds Stallman. "We want all Americans to join us to ask questions and regularly get information from farmers and ranchers who are growing and raising their food. We invite all to join the discussion online at www.fooddialogues.com."

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