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Consumers, farmers weigh-in on ag career survey


September 21, 2011
By Farm Credit Canada

Sept. 21, 2011, Guelph, Ont. — Would you encourage someone to consider a career in agriculture? If you're a farmer, the answer is an overwhelming "yes." But if you're a consumer…

Sept. 21, 2011, Guelph, Ont. — Would you encourage someone to consider a
career in agriculture? If you're a farmer, the answer is an
overwhelming "yes." But if you're a consumer, you might recommend a
different career, according to a recent national survey.

The Farm Credit Canada (FCC) survey results about potential careers in agriculture paint a challenging picture of the industry.

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Canadian consumers who took the survey chose “weather-dependent,” “struggling,” “essential,” “under-recognized” and “underpaid” when asked to choose the top five words from a list associated with the agriculture industry. Producers surveyed chose nearly identical words.

“It’s obvious that both farmers and consumers recognize that there are challenges associated with agriculture,” says FCC president and CEO Greg Stewart. “It’s surprising that the words chosen did not focus on opportunities. There are so many success stories in agriculture and related industries that counter this perception.”

At the same time, a national FCC Vision Panel survey showed that optimism among producers remains high. Results show that 80 per cent of producers would recommend a career in agriculture to a family member or friend. On the other hand, only 21 per cent of consumers would consider a career in agriculture, and 27 per cent would encourage someone else to pursue it. Although farmers recognize the challenges inherent in the industry, they still would encourage others to get involved in it.

“A career in agriculture is a wonderful choice. My father and two older brothers studied agriculture in university, so that was a big influence on me,” says Barry Smith, FCC vice-president of Western Ontario Operations. “People involved in this industry are passionate about what they do. Agriculture is diverse and there are opportunities for those considering a career in it.”

Jason Pinsonneault, a cash crop and vegetable producer in Dover Township, Ontario, is passionate about the industry and agrees.

“Agriculture is my future,” says Pinsonneault. “You’re always learning, and there are lots of resources out there to help. You’re more of a businessperson than a farmer, I think. Agriculture is stable and rewarding, and the opportunities are endless.”

From growing crops to processing and exporting, agriculture includes areas such as food, technology, health, energy and the environment, and employs one in eight Canadians.

“Agriculture matters. It’s a major Canadian industry and a noble career option,” says Stewart. “It’s amazing to know you’re part of something big. Right here in Canada, producers positively affect people on the other side of the world. We hear that from customers every day. We need to share this information with consumers and young people who are making important career choices.”

FCC is deeply committed to the success of Canadian agriculture and is working to educate the public about its potential and possibilities.

ABOUT THE SURVEY

From March 8 to March 10, 2011, an online survey was conducted among a sample of 2,015 Canadians who are Angus Reid Forum panel members. The margin of error on the full base – which measures sampling variability – is +/- 2.1 per cent. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. To view more survey results, including comparisons by age and province, visit www.fccvision.ca/research.


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