By Trust In Food

New Research From Farm Journal’s Trust in Food and American Public Media Explores U.S. Farmers’ Relationship With Water

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May 13, 2020

New Research From Farm Journal’s Trust in Food and American Public Media Explores U.S. Farmers’ Relationship With Water

LENEXA, Kan., May 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Farmers across the country are primed to play an outsized role in the protection and conservation of the nation’s water resources, including supporting downstream communities and ecosystems, according to new research from Farm Journal’s Trust In Food initiative.

The report, U.S. Farmer Perspectives on Water documents insights from a national survey of more than 900 farmers, representing nearly every state and major farming region. Farmers’ unique perspectives on water were analyzed to better identify their awareness, understanding, concern and action levels about water issues. This analysis enabled the creation of a communicator’s road map to help drive more effective and efficient engagement with farmers on water issues. The report can be downloaded at bit.ly/Farm-Water-TIF.

Trust In Food collaborated on the report with The Water Main, a public impact initiative of American Public Media, which administered a similar survey to a nationally representative cross-section of the American public. That report and its findings can be viewed here: thewatermain.org/. Together, the farmer-facing and consumer-facing studies provide a deeper understanding of the shared values farmers and the public hold for water, as well as opportunities for closer collaboration across the agri-food value chain to conserve important natural resources.

“Farmers are linked to water in deeper ways than most individuals and businesses because their livelihoods and family legacies revolve around daily interactions with water,” said Mitch Rouda, President of Farm Journal’s Trust In Food. “Through their critical position in the environment, their high levels of motivation and excellent hydrologic knowledge, farmers can play a critical role as a solution to water issues. This report provides water communicators with a set of steps to more effectively and efficiently engage with farmers around water issues and activate them as solutions providers.”

Highlights from the research include:

  • About nine in 10 farmers say they act daily to protect and conserve water resources.
  • Approximately eight in 10 farmers only support political candidates who have a stance on water conservation and protection.
  • Farmers tend to have very high awareness and understanding of the water cycle and other ecosystem processes related to water.

Researchers found farmers might not fully recognize agriculture’s role in water quality issues but are keenly aware of the increasing weather variability facing the U.S. and subsequent impacts on water availability. The report builds a case for improved communication with farmers around water issues, based on their unique views and personal experiences. 

To view the full report, go to: bit.ly/Farm-Water-TIF 

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