Farmers’ popularity is on the rise, according to an independent study.
The OnePoll survey, commissioned by the NFU, found that 67% of people think favourably of farmers, up from 62% last year and 60% in 2012.
Amid more demand for food from a growing population, more than 90% of those polled believed farming was “fairly important, or very important to the economy”.
NFU president Meurig Raymond said: “Seeing that more and more members of the public are thinking positive things about farming is fantastic. Maintaining and enhancing a positive image of farmers and farming is hugely important.
“We were particularly pleased to see that 90% of people think farming is important to the economy. Agriculture’s contribution to the economy increased by 67% between 2007 and 2013 and it is great the public have noticed this.”
Mr Raymond pointed out that many farmers worked in isolated, rural areas, but their work affected the everyday lives of British people.
“It’s heartening that shoppers are not only aware of the farming sector but are consciously making the right decisions to back British farming,” he added.
Results also revealed that 79% of people consider the farming industry to be a professional one, with this statistic rising to 92% in the over-65 age group.
The upbeat public perception of farming comes after the NFU launched its Back British Farming campaign last summer, which called on politicians, the public and the food industry to support the UK’s farming industry and increase self-sufficiency levels.
UK farmers produce high-quality and delicious British food, have world-leading animal welfare standards, contribute to the economy and are custodians of the countryside, the NFU said.