Recent research commissioned by the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) found that rural and city people share the same values, yet two thirds of Australians feel like they have no connection to farmers or rural Australia.
“It was acutely important to us, not just to act on gut feel or anecdotal information, but, using scientific research methods, to ask the Australian community for their perception of farming and agriculture,” NFF president Fiona Simson.
The survey, conducted in September, consisted of a representative sample of over 1,000 Australians showed that while two thirds of Australians don’t feel connected to the bush, around eight in ten say agriculture makes an important contribution to the national economy.
“We believe the widening disconnect between rural Australians and urban-based communities has resulted in a knowledge gap about how food and fibre is produced,” Simson said.
Respondents in the JWS Research study showed interest in the environmental impacts of agriculture, as well as welfare standards in livestock industries. When asked about their knowledge of agriculture, 85 per cent of people said they knew something, but this was only superficial knowledge, and 58 per cent said they only know “a little” about the agriculture sector.
Fiona Simson says the lack of knowledge of the agriculture industry stems from a weakening of connections to rural areas, “Many of the contentious issues are a result of the widening gap between farmers and rural Australian and urban-based communities. In the decades before, people had a country cousin, grandparent, aunt or uncle. Changes to our nation’s demographics have seen these links to the bush and agriculture diminish. This gap is leading to a lack of understanding about the process by which our food came to be on our supermarket shelves and the story behind our natural fibres.”
The National Farmers’ Federation has launched a campaign We are Australian farmers along with a video (shown below) to celebrate the common ground between city and country and counter these worrying trends for the farm sector by telling real stories about Australia’s farmers.
The NFF campaign launch was featured in articles in The Australian, and the North Queensland Register. To read more, click the button below to visit the AustralianFarmers website.