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The Saskatchewan Public Trust Results Are In

By: Abbie Treslan, Ag Awareness Summer Student

September 2017

Maintaining public trust in modern agriculture is vital to achieving the industry’s ambitious goals for sustainable growth. Producers want to benefit from the freedom to use the tools and technologies best suited to their operations so they can productively contribute to local and global food demand. Also, the Ministry and agriculture industry have an obligation to listen to, understand, and address the public’s concerns if we are going to gain or maintain the public’s trust.

In an effort to gain insight into public perceptions of agriculture, the Ministry recognizes that we must understand what consumer concerns are. For the past three years, the Ministry has surveyed 800 Saskatchewan residents for their opinions on agricultural technologies, livestock welfare, food safety, farm management and the impact agriculture has on society and the environment. The survey also gauged the public’s knowledge of finding credible sources of agriculture information and their overall trust of farmers and ranchers.

Here is a closer look at the survey results:

  • 78 per cent of respondents trust Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers make the right choices (up from 77 per cent last year).
  • 91 per cent of respondents agree that it is important that Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers have the freedom to use modern technology (down from 93 per cent last year).
  • 91 per cent of respondents believe society benefits from advancements in agriculture (down from 96 per cent last year).
  • 91 per cent of respondents agree that it is important that Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers have the freedom to use modern technology (down from 93 per cent last year).
  • 74 per cent of respondents believe Saskatchewan livestock are treated humanely (unchanged from last year).
  • 86 per cent of respondents have a positive perception of Saskatchewan agriculture (down from 89 per cent last year).
  • 66 per cent of respondents believe the majority of Saskatchewan farms and ranches are family businesses (down from 73 per cent last year).
  • 63 per cent of respondents believe there is a wide choice of career options within the field of agriculture and food (down from 78 per cent last year).
  • 61 per cent of respondents believe Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers take care of the environment (down from 69 per cent last year).
  • 60 per cent of respondents know where to find credible information about agriculture and food (unchanged from last year).
  • 52 per cent of respondents do not trust food in the grocery store (down from 58 per cent last year).
  • 48 per cent of respondents trust food made from genetically modified technologies (unchanged from last year).

The 2017 results suggest that Saskatchewan producers continue to have the public’s support, but the risk of losing that trust exists. Maintaining the public’s support requires continued efforts to build public awareness around production practices and promote the importance of Canada’s robust regulatory and assurance systems. It also requires producers to identify their role in speaking up and building awareness around what they do and why they do it.  

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