Television program promotes positive attitudes toward agriculture
By United States Grains Council
A recent survey of viewers of America's Heartland, a television program geared to the accurate reflection of agriculture in the US, showed that perceptions of farming improved after watching the program.
May 21, 2009
America’s Heartland, a television program focused on telling the accurate story of American agriculture, is improving the attitudes of the general public toward the industry that provides feed, food, fiber and fuel.
According to research conducted by Trac Media Services, the program, now in its fifth season, is having a "definite" impact on its viewers.
"The impact is most evident among skeptics of US agriculture," said Craig Reed of Trac Media Services. "We saw the most dramatic improvement of attitudes among those who disagreed with statements asking if the agricultural industry provided quality products; offered healthy products; gave a good buy for the dollar; grew crops properly; and raised livestock properly."
Specifically, the sponsors and promotional partners of America’s Heartland, including the US Grains Council, wanted to see if the program was improving perceptions of US agriculture and those who work the land by objectively telling true stories. Last month, telephone and online surveys were conducted where participants’ perceptions were measured prior to seeing the television program. They were then sent an America’s Heartland DVD and were re-interviewed.
The percentage of participants rating their favorability toward agriculture as an eight or higher on a one-to-ten scale went from 48 percent before watching an episode to 63 percent after watching the program. In the online test, the favorability increased from 42 percent to 69 percent. The two surveys collectively included more than 1100 participants.
"These improvements in attitudes toward agriculture held up across all demographic categories," Reed said.
The survey results were released Wednesday, May 20, 2009, at the America’s Heartland Advisory Board meeting in St. Louis.