The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance released findings of a survey conducted about Americans' perceptions on food production.

The survey, conducted to share with consumer media prior to "The Food Dialogues: New York," revealed Americans increasingly believe food production is heading in the right direction.

However, the survey also found Americans still have widespread misperceptions about how today's food is grown and raised. Key survey findings include:

• 53 percent of Americans believe food production is heading in the right direction - an increase from the 48 percent who believed the same in a benchmark 2011 USFRA survey.

• More than one in four Americans (27 percent) admit they often are confused about the food they are purchasing. Young adults (18-29 years old) are more likely than any other age group to say they are often confused about food purchases (38 percent).

• Three in five Americans would like to know more about how food is grown and raised, but don't feel they have the time or money for that to be a priority (59 percent).

• When it comes to dining out, Americans prioritize quality (48 percent), cost (42 percent) and taste (38 percent). When purchasing groceries, Americans prioritize cost (47 percent), quality (43 percent) and healthiness/nutrition (21 percent).

• While Americans want to learn about organic farming and ranching (27 percent), nearly all report that it's most important there are healthy choices available, even if they're not organic or local options (91 percent).

• Americans overall (84 percent) believe that farmers and ranchers in America are committed to improving how food is grown and raised. Half of Americans (50 percent) think farmers and ranchers are missing from the media conversation around food these days.

USFRA also surveyed farmers and ranchers on their perceptions of consumers' attitudes towards food production and what they want in a dialogue with consumers.

Findings indicated:

• Three-quarters of farmers and ranchers believe that the average consumer has very little to no knowledge about food production in the United States (76 percent). In fact, nearly three out of five farmers and ranchers believe consumers have an inaccurate perception of today's agriculture (59 percent).

• Farmers and ranchers want to see more of an emphasis on sustainability and the environment (42%) and transparency with consumers and customers (36%).

• Farmers and ranchers report topics best represented to American consumers include those related to family-owned farms (34%), commitment to food safety (23%) and the education level of farmers and ranchers (20%).

 

USFRA helps farmers and ranchers answer consumers' and influencers' questions, including the tough ones, about food production. Examples of this include:

• Food DialoguesSM - USFRA has conducted three national Food Dialogues events in a 14-month timespan. These events compelled key customers, influencers and detractors to join the dialogue with farmers and ranchers about today's food production.

• FoodSource - USFRA FoodSource on www.fooddialogues.com gives consumers the opportunity to learn more about how food is grown and raised by providing information from third party experts, including researchers and scientists at leading universities, into one easy-to-navigate website.

• Faces of Farming and Ranching - In 2012, USFRA launched a search for the face of farming and ranching in America. One hundred eighteen farmers and ranchers applied by speaking boldly of their passion for agriculture and their individual operations. USFRA will announce the winners on January 22, 2013, and will launch an aggressive national consumer media outreach effort.

To learn more about USFRA's survey results, visit www.fooddialogues.com.