A pair of surveys find Americans are developing a better sense of where their food comes from and the importance of farmers, according to officials with the Iowa Farm Bureau. Spokesman Aaron Putze says the national studies questioned one-thousand consumers and 700 farmers and found the two groups agree on many things. Putze says the survey shows farmers care about consumer expectations and feedback and that there’s an increasing amount of dialogue between consumers and farmers. He says it also finds consumers are gaining a better understanding of things farmers see as important, and vice-versa. There was a great deal of agreement between farmers and consumers about the importance food safety, food quality, taste and the need for farm assistance payments to help farmers weather tough economic times. Putze says farmers, particularly in Iowa, are becoming a very vocal minority. He says farmers have stepped beyond their comfort zone in speaking out to consumers. More than 80-percent of consumers surveyed think farmers should be protected from economic ups and downs and more than 80-percent of farmers agreed. Putze says the survey did find there is still some room for improvement in communication between consumers and farmers. There was a gap between perceptions of the importance of wildlife habitat preservation — 72-percent of consumers said it was very important compared to 35-percent of farmers. The two groups also differed on the need to reduce chemical and water usage in crop production.
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