Public backing of British farmers reaches record high
20th Jul 2020 / By Alistair Driver
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, according to a survey by OnePoll.
The Farmer Favourability Survey shows three-quarters, 75%, of people voiced a positive view of UK farming, the highest figure since OnePoll started carrying out the annual survey in 2012. It also represents a 6% point increase in public favourability since June 2019, on top of a 5% point increase from June 2018.
There number of people claiming to have no opinion on farming dropped from 25% to 21% over the past year, also compared with 33% when the survey started in 2012. 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% agreed that British farms should grow as much food as they can to provide national food security
- 88% of the public that feel it is important that Britain has a productive farming industry – the highest figure for 3 years
- 89% of the public feel farming is fairly or very important to the UK economy – a 4% point increase since 2019
- 77% of respondents agreed that farmers should continue to receive financial support post Brexit – a 4% point increase since 2019 and a 9% 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."
She highlighted how this public support was reflected in the 'incredible' support for 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, signed by more than one million people. In addition, 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, a policy call the Government recently accepted.
“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," Mrs Batters added.