UK - The public’s positive view of farmers has grown for a fourth year running. A new survey from OnePoll shows that 68 per cent of people in England and Wales share a favourable or very favourable view of UK farmers – up from 60 per cent in 2012.
The survey also reveals that more than 90 per cent of people said that they thought agriculture was important to the UK economy, up from 83 per cent in 2012. And when it comes to looking after the countryside 75 per cent of people said they believed that farmers had a beneficial or very beneficial effect, up from 72 per cent.
NFU President Meurig Raymond said he believed the growing positive trend was down in part to farmers and growers being more open and championing what they do.
“I am seeing more and more how farmers are speaking directly to the public,” he said.
“Whether that’s capitalising on social media to share with them compelling reasons to back British farming and buy British food or the recent successes seen during Open Farm Sunday last weekend where farmers threw open their farm gates to speak directly to the public about what they do.
“At the NFU we have used our Back British Farming campaign to focus on farming’s contribution; to the economy, to the countryside and as expert food producers and we have capitalised the public’s desire to know more about where their food comes from.
“The massive growth trend in our social media channels also goes hand-in-hand with farming’s growing public support. Our Twitter channel has gone from 4,600 in 2012 to around 31,000 today. And our views on YouTube have gone from hundreds four years ago to reaching hundreds of thousands of interested people today. In the run up to the General Election our website also received more than 15,000 pledges from people casting their vote for British food.
“All of this is great news for a sector that has had its fair share of challenges in recent times. We’ve seen in recent weeks the very visible public support for farming and farmers both in the public and the media and I would like to thank them for that.
“But we cannot rest on our laurels. 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.”