Almost 80 percent of respondents trust the producers who grew the food
By Diego Flammini
Farmers are among the most trusted people when it comes to food production, survey results show.
More than 1,500 Americans took a United Soybean Board (USB) online survey in December, which brought back the following results from the respondents:
- 78 percent trust the farmers who grew the food,
- 67 percent trust the rancher who raised the animal,
- 65 percent trust the FDA, USDA and other government agencies
- 48 percent trust local food companies who package and produce food
- 42 percent trust grocery stores and restaurants
"It revealed a strong trust of farmers' ability to nourish the world," Mace Thornton, vice president of communications and marketing strategy with the USB, told Farms.com.
While some consumers have shown their support for producers, others question how and why farmers operate the way they do.
The USB and other organizations have to navigate those relationships to ensure consumers who are curious about food production can access accurate information, Thornton said.
"Past surveys have shown that people love farmers, but they aren't always necessarily supportive of the agriculture industry," he said. "We have to bring the concerns and interests of the consumer down to the farm level and make a connection with an individual farmer they can relate to and who can talk about why they do what they do. You can't just tell people something, you have to show them that your actions back up your words."
The survey will also help the USB communicate with consumers about how the soybean industry fits within other ag and food sectors.
About 80 percent of U.S. soybean production goes to soybean meal while the other 20 percent is destined for soybean oil. But both volumes contribute to U.S. food production, Thornton said.
"Soybean provides a halo effect for livestock production because it's a sustainable feed source for animals," he said. "We have a very strong cooperative and collaborative relationship with our allies in the meat sector. For consumers who want meat, we do everything we can to make sure there's meat in the marketplace. And for those who want plant-based protein alternatives, we have to do our best to as competitive as possible against other forms of plant protein products."