98 percent of surveyed residents agree the industry is important to the state’s success
By Diego Flammini
Coloradans appreciate how important agriculture is to the state.
That’s the message the public sent in the 2022 Public Attitudes Survey.
The survey, which the Colorado Department of Agriculture and Colorado State University have conducted every five years since 1996, gives residents an opportunity to provide feedback on the state’s ag sector
In 2021, Colorado ag contributed $41 billion to the state economy and employed over 170,000 people.
“The purpose of the survey was to gauge public perception about various agricultural topics and issues including land and water use, agricultural practices, food security, agricultural labor, and climate change,” the survey’s executive summary says.
The 2022 survey received 1,103 responses. Of those, 93 percent of respondents, or 1,025 people, do not live or work on a farm or ranch.
Here are some of the findings from the survey:
- 98 percent of respondents (1,080) believe Colorado’s food and ag industry is important to the state’s future economic resiliency, and the presence of farms, ranches and agriculture are important to the quality of life in the state.
- 95 percent of respondents (1,047) believe the food Colorado farmers and ranchers produce is almost always or usually safe.
- 37 percent of respondents (408) feel there should be regulations preventing the sale of farmland for non-agricultural use.
- 72 percent of surveyed Coloradans (794) said they’d buy more local food if it were available and labelled as local.
“Favorable public attitude toward agriculture is crucial to the longer-term sustainability of Colorado's food and ag industry and consumer awareness will help us build new local and regional markets for Colorado producers looking to reach their neighbors,” Kate Greenberg, Colorado’s ag commissioner, said in a statement.
Survey participants also had the opportunity to provide written comments relating to Colorado agriculture.
Here are some of their thoughts:
“Honestly, this survey has caused me to realize how little I know about agriculture in Colorado. I definitely feel prompted to be a more responsible consumer after taking this.”
“Need more support for agriculture pathways in high schools.”
“We are losing to(o) many acres of land to housing developments!”
“We need to keep more water in-state for agricultural and recreation purposes.”
“Price is all that matters.”