Farmscape for September 28, 2017
An Agricultural Economist with the University of Alberta suggests the more interaction consumers can have with farmers, the better equipped they'll be to make responsible food choices.
"Consumer Perceptions of Agriculture" will be among the topics discussed as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2017 November 14 and 15 in Saskatoon.
Dr. Ellen Goddard, an Agricultural Economist with the University of Alberta, observes the gap between the consumer and the farmer is much wider than it was 40 years ago.
Clip-Dr. Ellen Goddard-University of Alberta:
Consumers want to know, and this is quite clear, how the food is produced.
Whether their concerns about certain types of production practices, such as the use of genetic technologies for example, are realistic or not is com0pletely beyond the point at this point.
They want to know that they can find out how their food is produced.
Whether it changes their consumption patterns or not, they want to make sure that information is available.
We've seen a big shift in the last 10 or 15 years towards people shopping at farmers markets, towards people trying to buy more local produce.
They recognize that their purchases have a link to local economies.
They recognize their purchases have a link to the types of production practices that may be more or less popular within Canada.
I think they're trying earnestly to make choices that they think are good for themselves, are good for agriculture because they're really concerned about fairness to farmers and good for the environment.
Whether the choices they're making are actually achieving the outcomes they want or not is a different question but, the more they can interact with farmers, the more knowledgeable they become and the better their choices are to achieve the outcomes they want.
Dr. Goddard acknowledges this means a lot more work for farmers.
However, she stresses, people who are effective social communicators can have a profound effect on the attitudes of the public towards agriculture.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork