The 2018 National Agriculture Day Poll has revealed some shocking insights into how young Australians perceive the agricultural industry and highlighted the growing disconnect between urban and rural society in Australia.
As readers of The Australian Farmer will remember from last week’s article, National Agriculture Day falls on 21 November each year. This date coincides with the annual AgDay Poll, which is conducted by TEG Insights and commissioned by the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) to measure the Australian community’s sense of connection with those who grow their food.
While the theme of this year’s National Ag Day was ‘Grow for Good’ to celebrate the hard work that farmers do – whether it’s helping feed a hungry world, caring for our environment or creating jobs in disadvantaged communities – results of the AgDay Poll suggest there is still a long way to go in bridging the disconnect between Aussie communities and rural farmers.
Almost a quarter (23 per cent) of young Australians aged between 18 to 29 admitted they don’t care at all how their food or fibre is grown, and more than half (52per cent) felt disconnected with farming, and uninformed about the industry. 65 per cent said they had not had any contact with a single farmer in the past twelve months.
NFF CEO Tony Mahar says the results are deeply concerning for the future of agriculture and how it will be perceived by the next generation of Australians.
“This is meant to be a demographic with a deep social conscience, yet almost one in four couldn’t care less how the food they put in their mouths is grown,” said Mr Mahar. “It’s troubling that as a country we’re growing increasingly disconnected from life’s essentials.
“We have to do a better job at getting in front of the community, and having an open and honest conversation about what we do. Otherwise we risk seeing generations of Australians with no understanding of where their food and fiber comes from. There is a great story to tell about Australian agriculture.”