As part of its inaugural coverage in 1975, Case IH’s Farm Forum surveyed customers more than 35 years ago. We asked a variety of questions ranging from, “What is the number one thing you like about farming?” to “How would you rate farming as a dangerous occupation?”
One of the most interesting responses was to the question, “What kind of understanding do non-farm people have about the prices farmers get from their products?” Here’s what Case IH customers had to say in 1975:
- No understanding 33%
- Little understanding 64%
- Adequately informed 1%
- Well informed 1%
- Didn’t answer 1%
- Out of 2,309 respondents.
A couple of weeks ago, we posed the same question on the Case IH Facebook page. Here’s how Case IH Facebook fans responded:
- No understanding 82%
- Little understanding 14%
- Adequately informed .004%
- Well informed .03%
- Out of 267 respondents.
Based on your responses, it seems that as the number of farmers decreases, so does the gap in agricultural literacy. Agricultural literacy, or an understanding of the agriculture industry, is the term used to describe the public’s knowledge of agriculture.
There are several “agvocacy” groups across the U.S. that are raising awareness and understanding of the agriculture industry. Here’s a few that we’re heard about:
- Ag in the Classroom offers agriculture-based lesson plans for educators to teach about science, math or reading in addition to agriculture.
- Farmers Feeding the World seeks to provide long-term solutions to feed a quickly expanding, hungry global population, provide immediate assistance through relief organizations, and provide education about the benefits of modern agriculture to non-farm consumers.
- The Center for Food Integrity sponors an educational program called Farmers Feed Us to educate consumers on where their food comes from and to connect consumers with the people who produce their food.
- Illinois Farm Families, a coalition of Illinois commodity groups, is committed to showing consumers how food is grown, answering their questions about farms, farmers, and farming, and sharing with consumers what really happens on Illinois farms.
- CommonGround is a group of volunteer farm women who are starting conversations between women who grow food and women who buy food to share the story of agriculture. This program was brought to our attention by one of our Case IH Facebook fans!
- The newly established U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance is finding opportunities to take part in the conversation with Americans about where their food comes from and sharing agriculture’s story.
Tell us about your experiences sharing the story of agriculture in your community.
I am the series producer for “America’s Heartland”, the only nationally broadcast television series of its kind focusing on agriculture in America. We are just beginning our 7th season of stories about agriculture and the farm families who create food, fuel and fiber for our nation and the world. Our award winning program airs on more than 230 PBS stations across the country and also in prime time on RFD TV. While we are not an “advocacy” program, our broadcast mission is to introduce urban consumers to those farm families who meet the challenges of farming and ranching today. We have a “big tent” philosophy and broadcast stories on all kinds of agricultural operations. We encourage people to tune in to see those positive stories about agriculture and find out more on our website at http://www.americasheartland.org. We think it’s very important that consumers today understand where their food is coming from.
Thanks for sharing!