New survey gives thumbs up to farming

National Farmers' Union (NFU) East Anglia Regional Director Robert Sheasby

National Farmers' Union (NFU) East Anglia Regional Director Robert Sheasby - Credit: Archant

The British public’s love affair with farming continues, according to research.

A OnePoll survey reveals that the public’s positive view of farming has grown for the fourth year running.

More than two thirds (68%) of people questioned in England and Wales have a favourable or very favourable view of farmers, up from 60% in 2012.

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

And when it comes to looking after the countryside, three quarters (75%) of people said they believed farmers had a beneficial or very beneficial effect, up from 72%.

National Farmers’ Union (NFU) East Anglia regional director Robert Sheasby said: “It’s great to see this thumbs up to 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 which had faced a number of challenges recently.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Two thousand people responded to the OnePoll Farmer Favourability Survey, commissioned by the NFU, between May 18 and 22.