Almost seven in ten people have a ‘favourable’ or ‘very favourable’ view of farmers – and two-thirds regularly look for British food when shopping.
The boost for the industry was revealed in the 2017 NFU Farmer Favourability Survey, the first since the UK's vote to leave the EU.
The NFU said the findings powerfully demonstrate the public’s strong recognition of British farming’s contribution to the country, sending a "strong message" to MPs and decision makers.
It commissioned the OnePoll survey of 2,000 adults in England and Wales, conducted between 25 May and 2 June 2017.
The survey showed:
- 68% of people have a favourable or very favourable view of British farming
- 90% think farming is important to the UK economy
- 89% think it is important to have a productive farming industry
The role farming plays in providing safe, traceable food through supply chains, audited by assurance schemes like Red Tractor, was also recognised. Some 64% of respondents trust British food more than produce from the rest of the world. And 66% ‘often’ or ‘always’ specifically look for British food when shopping.
Government support for farmers post-Brexit was also something the public felt strongly about. The survey found:
- 68% of the public feel that farmers should receive support to both produce food and look after the environment in equal measure
- Around three quarters agree that farmers should receive assistance towards protecting the environment and for dealing with climate change (75%); investing in farm businesses for future generations (73%) and ensuring a fair standard of living for farmers (73%).
NFU President Meurig Raymond said: “The results of this survey will make for welcome news for the farming sector. It’s clear the public recognise the strategic importance of farming in feeding the country, looking after the countryside and contributing to the economy.
“Public support is vital to the British farming industry. It sends a strong message to the MPs and decision-makers who have a huge opportunity during Brexit negotiations to create a political environment where farming can really thrive. This support will be instrumental for the British farming sector in the coming months and years ahead.”