Covid-19 appears to be having a positive impact on New Zealanders' views of pastoral farmers, according to a survey by UMR Research.
"The research appeared to show that in a time of crisis New Zealanders are more clearly seeing the critical importance of their food-producing sectors" said Marc Elliott, Director of Rural Research at UMR.
The research showed close to three-fifths (63 per cent) of New Zealanders hold a positive view of sheep and beef farming. This was a significant increase of 9 per cent compared to just eight months ago.
Dairy farmers also enjoyed a similar increase in positive support and were now at 60 per cent positive up from 51 per cent.
"This should be a small shot in the arm for pastoral farmers who are facing droughts, along with looming regulations and long-term uncertainty in the markets" said Elliott.
"I keep hearing from farmers that one of their main challenges is negative public perception. While there are pockets of hostility towards our farmers, there is also a growing wave of warmth".
Horticulture continued to receive the highest positive rating of 65 per cent.
Ratings for fisheries just clicked over into majority positive territory at 53 per cent, up from 47 per cent in August 2019.
The main reasons New Zealanders gave for feeling more positively disposed towards these food-producing industries included:
• Efficient and high-quality producers of food for New Zealanders and the world.
• Being an essential industry to New Zealand.
• Good for the New Zealand Economy as they provide exports and jobs.
• Farmers worked through and will help us through COVID-19.
"When times are good, critical aspects of our economy can be taken for granted, however in the current crisis our food producers appear to be receiving the extra credit they deserve" said Elliott.