LA FARGE, WI - May 3 - For safe, nutritious food, Americans place more trust in smaller scale family farms than in large scale industrial farms, according to a national consumer opinion poll conducted by Roper Public Affairs on behalf of Organic Valley Family of Farms, the largest and only independent national organic farmers cooperative.
Americans overwhelmingly say that smaller scale family farms are more likely to care about food safety than large scale industrial farms by a 71% to 15% margin. More than eight in ten consumers (85%) say they trust smaller scale family farms to produce safe, nutritious food. Almost twice as many consumers (45%) place a lot of trust in smaller scale family farms compared to large scale industrial farms (24%).
Once again, the American public has placed their trust in the family the family farm. Small and mid-sized family farmers take great pride in the integrity and quality of the food they produce. We are farming for the next generation and not solely for this years profits. Our children and yours are our utmost concern and that is why we do everything we can to avoid polluting our bodies, our animals and the earth. Thank you America for your vote of confidence! said George Siemon, founding farmer and CEO of Organic Valley.
Survey Indicates Smaller Family Farms are Better for People, Planet
Nearly seven in ten Americans (69%) say smaller scale family farms are more likely than large scale industrial farms (22%) to use techniques that wont harm the environment. Farming techniques today, such as the use of pesticides and genetic engineering, can have many effects on the natural environment.
Overall, seven in ten Americans express at least moderate concern about the health risks of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals used in food production (70%), with just over one in four (28%) saying these chemicals pose a high risk to human health.
Women (79%) are significantly more likely than men (61%) to say the pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics used to produce many foods pose a moderate or high risk to human health. Men (32%) are nearly twice as likely as women (17%) to say those chemicals pose minor or no risk to human health.
Other highlights of the Organic Valley-Roper Food and Farming Survey include:
· Consumers Will Pay More
Two-thirds of Americans say they would pay more for foods produced without chemicals such as pesticides, antibiotics and hormones. Women (71%) are more likely than men (62%) to say theyd pay more. About half of those surveyed (51%) say they would be willing to pay a premium for foods produced with humane treatment of animals. Four in ten (42%) would not.
· Decline of U.S. Farms is Troubling
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the number of U.S. farms has dropped from seven million in the 1930s to about two million today, and 330 farmers leave the land every week. The public is troubled by this pattern. Fully 82% say they are at least somewhat concerned with the decline in the number of American farms; nearly half (46%) are very concerned.
· Important to Know if Food is Grown Locally
Most consumers find it important to know whether food is grown or produced locally or regionally. Overall, 73% of them find this information important, with 38% saying it is very important. Americans living in the Northeast (83%) were more likely to say this was important than those in the South (71%), West (70%) or Midwest (70%).
· Labels Would Have an Impact
Most Americans (73%) report that having food labels specify whether a product was produced with pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or genetically modified ingredients would have an impact on their product choice.
The Food and Farming 2004 study was conducted by Roper Public Affairs via telephone among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults, age 18 or older. Interviews were conducted from March 26 to April 10, 2004, using a Random Digit Dialing (RDD) methodology to include both listed and unlisted phone numbers. The margin of error due to sampling is plus or minus three percentage points at the .95 confidence level, although it is larger for the results for smaller subgroups of the public. The demographic characteristics of the random sample were compared with the most recent Census Bureau estimates and corrective weights were applied to ensure proper representation based on age, gender, education, race and region.
About Roper Public Affairs
Roper Public Affairs, a NOP World company, is a leading global marketing research and consulting firm with headquarters in New York and offices in London, Manila and throughout the U.S. NOP World is among the ten largest global market research companies in the U.S. and the world. Bringing together some of the most renowned U.S. and European research firms in a unified global network, NOP World is a wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based United Business Media plc. (NASDAQ: UNEWY)
Organic Valley: Farming for Future Generations
Organized in 1988, the Organic Valley cooperative today is made up of 633 organic farmers in 16 states. Its the only national organic brand that is 100-percent farmer-owned and proudly the only independent national organic dairy in the U.S. In 2003, sales totaled $156 million, a 25 percent jump over 2002. The cooperative sells more than 130 organic products in leading natural foods, groceries and cooperatives nationwide. For further information, visit www.organicvalley.coop.