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Iowa Ag News Headlines
Survey: Iowans Trust Farmers Are Caring for Livestock, Land
Iowa Ag Connection - 01/03/2018

Iowa grocery shoppers place a great deal of trust in Iowa farmers and according to the latest Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index, large majorities are confident that Iowa farmers take care of their animals and the environment responsibly. The news is detailed in the latest Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index, an annual survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) to shed light on what Iowa grocery shoppers are putting in their carts, as well as the issues and factors that may influence their choices in the new year.

The latest survey of over 500 Iowa grocery shoppers shows nearly 9 in 10 (87 percent) are confident Iowa farmers are caring for their animals responsibly, with a third (33 percent) saying they are very confident. "This is encouraging news for farmers who look for ways to improve the environments and efficiencies of livestock in their care. There are so many ways that farmers raise animals today and this survey also shows consumers want and expect that flexibility to bring them more choices and nutritional options at the grocery store. In fact, 84 percent of Iowans say it is important that farmers have the flexibility to use a variety of farming practices to provide them with different choices and price options at the grocery store and over a quarter (27 percent) say that farmer flexibility is very important to them," says IFBF President, Craig Hill.

"Iowans who don't farm have questions about those who do, so Iowa Farm Bureau, together with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, in cooperation with Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, launched Iowa Farm Animal Care, a unique coalition which works to provide voluntary independent professional evaluations, increase awareness of how Iowans care for their animals and provide additional information and resources about the latest in animal care. IFAC is the first-of-its-kind network in Iowa, bringing together experienced animal science experts and veterinarians from Iowa State University's Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Iowa State Veterinarian office at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), as well as animal welfare experts at the Animal Rescue League, the Iowa State Sheriff's and Deputies Association and farmers," says Hill.

The good news for farming innovation and flexibility is also apparent when it comes to farmers embracing conservation practices that work best for their farms. According to the 2017 survey, over three-fourths (77 percent) of Iowa grocery shoppers are confident Iowa farmers are caring for the environment responsibly, with 1 in 4 (24 percent) being very confident. Asked unaided, nearly 7 in 10 (68 percent) Iowa grocery shoppers say they are confident that Iowa farmers are taking on the challenge of improving water quality and they like to learn more about those efforts. For example, hearing how farmers are installing cover crops, wetlands, and bioreactors, which is keeping more than 3.8 million pounds of nitrogen from reaching Iowa's water (source: 2015-2016 Iowa Water Quality Initiative Annual Progress Report) makes over 4 in 5 (84 percent) more confident that farmers are taking on the challenge of improving water quality, with 33 percent saying they are much more confident. "Progress is happening and this survey underscores the importance of sharing that information. Iowans can visit to learn more and see for themselves how farmers are managing their most precious resources," says Hill.

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