Agriculture is a major generator of wealth and employment in Australia. However, it faces a range of economic and environmental challenges which require substantial community support. The purpose of this paper is to examine Australian adults’ Australian knowledge of, and attitudes towards, Australian agriculture.
Online questionnaire survey of 1,026 adults conducted nationwide during August 2012.
Most respondents had little knowledge of even the basic aspects of the industry but they approved of farmers’ performance of their roles. Latent class analysis showed that there are two groups of consumers with low and lower levels of knowledge. The respondents’ age, rural residence and universalist values were positive predictors of agricultural knowledge.
This was a cross-sectional, quota-based survey which examined only some aspects of agriculture. However, the findings suggest that more communication with the general public about the industry is required in order to build on the positive sentiment that exists within the community.
More education about agriculture in schools and higher education is indicated.
The poor state of knowledge of agriculture threatens the social contract upon which agricultural communities depend for survival.
The study highlights the poor state of general knowledge about agriculture in Australia. The findings could be used as a baseline against which the efficacy of future education programmes could be assessed.
This research was supported by a grant from Meat and Livestock Australia. The authors would like to thank Veronique Droulez (MLA) and Ruth Redfern (NFF) for their help and encouragement.
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