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Producer image research results look good for Iowa's pork producers

by 5m Editor
11 March 2003, at 12:00am

IOWA - Consumers have a more positive view of America's pork producers than producers give themselves credit for.

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A survey conducted by Eidson & Partners, Inc. in partnership with Decisive Research Services showed that 84% of consumers feel positive or have no opinion about pork farming. When pork producers were surveyed, they predicted that only 35% of consumers would feel positive about their livelihood.

The National Pork Board funded this independent survey to gauge consumers' perception of pork production, how producers think consumer view them and also how producers perceive themselves.

"This study shows that pork producers are regarded much more positively than the farmers expected," said Tim Bierman, past president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association. "The survey confirms that farmers are very concerned about how they are viewed by U.S. consumers."

Consumers were asked which type of farm is most likely to impact the environment and the survey results show that they ranked pork, cattle and poultry farms all about the same with grain and dairy farms slightly lower regarding potential environmental impact.

Consumers identified the following attributes of pork producers: ethical, hard workers, concerned citizens, treat animals humanely, take steps to protect the environment and are good stewards of the land.

"As farmers, we go above and beyond to protect the environment," said Bierman. "Producers are utilizing technologies such as concrete manure storage facilities, incorporating manure nutrients for crop fertilizer and conducting third party audits on their farms to ensure they are doing their part."

Consumers identified "commitment and business sense" as pork producers' most admirable quality. Thirty-eight percent of consumers surveyed cited hard work and dedication to the land as the most admirable qualities of pork producers.

Key findings from the consumer surveys indicate that many consumers have no opinion on the issues that pork producers grapple with daily and if they do have an opinion, it's more likely to be favorable than unfavorable. The vast majority (89%) of consumers do not recall seeing recent media stories about pork production.

The survey was conducted in three phases: pork producer focus groups, pork producer telephone interviews and consumer telephone interviews from key pork producing states and also from non-key pork producing states. The research was conducted in 2002.

Source: Iowa Pork Producers Association - March 2003

5m Editor