Public survey delivers a ‘thumbs up’ for farming

Robert Sheasby, NFU East Anglia

Robert Sheasby, NFU East Anglia - Credit: Submitted

More people are backing British farmers according to a new survey which shows positive public perceptions about the industry have risen for the fourth year running.

The OnePoll survey, commissioned by the National Farmers' Union (NFU), says more than two thirds (68pc) of people questioned in England and Wales have a favourable or very favourable view of farmers, up from 60pc in 2012.

More than 90pc of respondents said they thought agriculture was important to the UK economy, up from 83pc in 2012.

And when it comes to looking after the countryside, three quarters of people said they believed farmers had a beneficial or very beneficial effect, up from 72pc.

The upsurge in opinion has been attributed to increased public engagement with consumers through events like Open Farm Sunday, which brought thousands of visitors to farms across East Anglia on June 7.

NFU East Anglia regional director Robert Sheasby said: 'It's great to see this thumbs up for farming.

'This positive result is a testament to the increasing number of farmers who champion what they do, whether it's organising farm open days, writing for the parish magazine, talking to people at food festivals or engaging with the public on social media.

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'Our members are rightly proud of the food they produce and their management of the countryside and it's encouraging that the public agrees they are doing a good job.'

NFU president Meurig Raymond said the results were great news for a sector that still faced a number of challenges.

'We cannot rest on our laurels,' he said. 'We must continue using all of the tools we have to tell our story and state the case for British food and farming.

'This survey is a clear indicator of public support. Now – at a time when farm gate prices are low – retailers and government must also continue showing their support and visibly back British farming.'

About 2,000 people responded to the OnePoll Farmer Favourability Survey, between May 18 and May 22.