Public support of British farmers reaches record high

A survey by OnePoll has shown that support for British food and farming has reached a record high as a result of farmers’ efforts to keep the nation fed throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
calendar icon 20 July 2020
clock icon 6 minute read

The Farmer Favourability Survey reveals that 75 percent of people voiced a positive view of UK farming, which is the highest figure since OnePoll started carrying out the annual survey in 2012. It also marks a 6 percent point increase in public favourability since June 2019, which comes on top of a further 5 percent point increase between June 2018-2019.

There are also fewer people claiming to have no opinion on farming, dropping from 25 percent to 21 percent over the past year. When the survey started in 2012, this figure was at 33 percent.

The majority of respondents cited the importance of British farming’s work throughout lockdown as a reason for their increased positive view.

Other findings from the Farmer Favourability Survey include:

  • 86 percent agreed that British farms should grow as much food as they can to provide national food security
  • 88 percent of the public that feel it is important that Britain has a productive farming industry – the highest figure for three years
  • 89 percent of the public feel farming is fairly or very important to the UK economy – a 4 percent point increase since 2019
  • 77 percent of respondents agreed that farmers should continue to receive financial support post Brexit – a 4 percent point increase since 2019 and a 9 percent point increase since 2017

NFU President Minette Batters said: “Like the rest of the nation, our farmers have had a challenging year and it’s fantastic to see that the British public has recognised the efforts of growers and producers cross the country in keeping us fed.

“With the ongoing uncertainty around COVID-19 and the potential for a no-deal Brexit looming large I, along with my fellow farmers, remain extremely thankful for this huge show of public support and the increasing value they place on quality British food. These figures demonstrate growing public thinking; understanding and supporting our food supply chain has never been more important.

“The amount of people putting their support into action over the past few months has also been incredible, with more than one million people signing the NFU’s petition urging the government to ensure future trade deals do not lead to an increase in food imports that would be illegal to produce here. Alongside this, nearly 80,000 people wrote to their MP asking them to support the introduction of a Trade and Agriculture Commission to oversee future trade deals.

“This has sent a strong signal to Westminster on how highly British people value quality, sustainably produced British food, which has been recognised by ministers in the recent announcement that they will be setting up the Commission. This is an important development in our campaign to ensure UK farming’s high standards of animal welfare and environmental protection are not undermined in future trade deals and it remains vital that this independent commission is able to advise and be accountable to Parliament.

“As farmers we must continue to show the public how much the UK farming sector delivers for the nation, the economy and the environment. Their support is going to be invaluable in the months and years ahead.”

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