Farmers realize role as leaders
By Top Crop Manager
July 13, 2016 - Canadian producers recognize the importance of public perception and see themselves playing a lead role in sharing information about their operations and practices to maintain their social license to operate, according to a recent Farm Credit Canada Vision panel survey.
FCC’s Producer Perspectives on Social License survey shows more than two thirds (68 per cent) of producers who responded to the survey believe public perception will have a growing impact on their operation over the next five years. Three quarters (72 per cent) of respondents also indicated they are comfortable sharing information about their operation practices in order to strengthen public trust and maintain their social license to operate.
“The good news is that most producers are aware of the potential impact public perception can have on their operations and are willing to share information about their practices with anyone interested in learning more about how food is produced,” says Marty Seymour, FCC director of industry and stakeholder relations. “Canada’s agriculture sector produces among the safest, highest-quality food in the world and it’s done in a socially responsible manner. The industry and individual producers take seriously their social license to operate, which is earned by maintaining public trust and confidence in what is produced and how it’s produced"
The survey found that almost half (46 per cent) of respondents have concerns about social license and their top concern (80 per cent) is new regulations that could result from public demands.
While most producers want to share information and talk about their agricultural practices, a recent survey by the new Canadian Centre for Food Integrity indicated most consumers are willing to listen and interested in learning about where their food comes from and how it is grown.
The Canadian CFI Public Trust Survey, released on May 31, showed 93 per cent of consumers know little or nothing about Canadian farming practices, and a majority (60 per cent) of those respondents indicated they want to know more about farming practices.
The same survey indicated farmers are viewed the most favourably – ahead of medical professionals, scientific researchers and government officials – in providing information about food and food production.According to the FCC survey, 82 per cent of respondents are motivated to share information with the public to help them better understand agricultural practices. The survey also showed 85 per cent of producers already share information with others beyond fellow producers and operators, 34 per cent host tours of their operations and 31 per cent respond to public comments and photos on social media.
Seymour says the industry-led initiative – Agriculture More Than Ever – is encouraging producers to connect with consumers to develop a better understanding of agriculture practices in Canada. Launched more than four years ago, it has attracted over 470 partner organizations and 2,300 individuals committed to creating positive perceptions of agriculture.
The Social License Vision panel survey was conducted from April 28 to May 3, 2016, generated 2,739 responses, a response rate of 63 per cent.