The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture 2020 Public Trust Survey shows respondents continue to trust farmers and ranchers
Saskatchewan residents’ perception of agriculture remains positive, according to the Ministry of Agriculture’s 2020 Public Trust Survey.
The survey consists of 10 questions that 805 people answered this year, said Sarah Hein. She’s the director of public trust in the ministry.
“The survey is an important tool that allows us to gain insight into public perceptions of agriculture and the agricultural industry. (We use the survey to) assess the impact of efforts to build public trust and establish benchmarks for future initiatives,” she told Farms.com.
In total, 91 per cent of respondents have a positive perception of agriculture, the survey showed. This figure is up from 85 per cent in 2019, said Hein.
The ministry compared its information to data from a similar survey conducted by the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity 2019. Compared to other Canadians, Saskatchewan residents have more acceptance and agreement for several ag practices, the survey results suggested.
“The difference between the perception levels really indicates that we need to continue to work collaboratively across the Canadian value chain to build public trust. We can't just work in silos,” said Hein. “As well, we feel like this shows us that focusing on the adoption of best practices, and working to protect food safety, animal health and the environment, while also partnering to build awareness about modern agriculture, is essential to sustained growth in the Canadian industry.”
Overall, 88 per cent of Saskatchewan residents have higher trust in farmers and ranchers compared to 42 per cent of Canadians.
“Producers play a huge role in being able to communicate to consumers because there's an established level of trust, which might be counter to what people inherently think is happening right now in that consumer environment. So, I think that (finding is) a real positive. Maintaining the public's trust is key to growth in the agricultural sector,” said Hein.
Some results from the Saskatchewan survey show room for improvement exists. For example, just 66 per cent of people agree that the government’s agricultural regulations protect the interest of the public and only 54 per cent of respondents say the ag sector communicates transparently, said Hein.
These findings “speak to the importance of informing consumers about Saskatchewan’s robust regulatory framework. (The findings) also demonstrate that consumers look to the agricultural industry to communicate their practices with greater transparency,” she said.
The ministry conducts the survey annually in May and releases the results in July.
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