Survey reveals Canadians' views on agriculture

June 11, 2019
Written by Grassroots Public Affairs (edited)
Canadians hold largely positive views about the current and future state of agriculture and agri-food in Canada, says a new poll by Grassroots Public Affairs. Yet the industry, arguably one of the most significant in our economy, has work to do in telling its story.

The online survey measured awareness, attitudes, and public opinion on a range of agricultural issues and policies. With a federal election less than five months away, the research was conducted to measure how Canadians view the industry in comparison to other leading economic sectors, and how Canadian agriculture is viewed compared to the world.

Some of the more positive survey findings include:
• Nine-in-ten (89%) Canadians from coast to coast are either very or somewhat confident in the safety of food grown or produced in Canada; less so (64%) with the United States.
• Six-in-ten (61%) believe agriculture and agri-food has a positive impact on the Canadian environment, compared with construction and infrastructure (42%) and mining and natural resources (24%).
• A significant plurality (44%) of Canadians believe that our agriculture and agri-food sector is likely to grow over time, while just over one-in-five (23%) believe the sector is likely to shrink.

"These findings confirm that policy makers and industry leaders can build on the agriculture sector's positive reputation as clean, green and on the cutting edge of technology and innovation. Few other industries are viewed as positively by Canadians. This is a sector with enormous potential," says Peter Seemann, principal and senior consultant at Grassroots Public Affairs.

Despite the generally positive findings, the results also highlight several areas where the sector needs to enhance its public opinion. Examples include:
• Only one-in-three (32%) Canadians are likely to recommend a career in agriculture and agri-food.
• Canadians hold conflicting views on agriculture's environmental history. 36% say agricultural practices and methods have become less harmful to the environment over time, while 34% indicate practices have become more harmful.

"As Canada's population has over time become more urbanized, the percentage of Canadians and the politicians that represent them, who have direct experience and understanding in agriculture has decreased," added Seemann. "The industry needs to do a better job in collaborating and communicating the massive benefits it offers the country as a whole. This poll shows us Canadians already value our agriculture sector."

Grassroots Public Affairs is currently working with various leading agri-food commodities and general farm organizations in Canada to promote Economic Development, Food Security and Environmental Stewardship within the agri-food sector for the benefit of all Canadians.

The Canada-wide survey was conducted via an online panel of 1,002 Canadians aged 18 and over. Fieldwork for the survey took place between April 29th– May 2nd, and the survey was available in English and French.

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