( Farm Journal )

U.S. growers can play an important role in providing solutions to critical water issues, according to a new report from Farm Journal’s Trust In Food initiative.

The report, “U.S. Farmer Perspectives on Water,” documents insights from a national survey of more than 900 farmers, representing nearly every state and major farming region. The 45-page report can be downloaded online.

“Farmers are linked to water in deeper ways than most individuals and businesses because their livelihoods and family legacies revolve around daily interactions with water,” said Mitch Rouda, president of Farm Journal’s Trust In Food. “Through their critical position in the environment, their high levels of motivation and excellent hydrologic knowledge, farmers can play a critical role as a solution to water issues. This report provides water communicators with a set of steps to more effectively and efficiently engage with farmers around water issues and activate them as solutions providers.”

Trust In Food collaborated on the report with The Water Main, an American Public Media initiative, which administered a similar survey with members of the public. That report is available at thewatermain.org/. 

The farmer-facing and consumer-facing studies provide a deeper understanding of the shared values farmers and the public hold for water, as well as opportunities for closer collaboration across the agri-food value chain to conserve important natural resources.

Highlights from the research include:

  • About nine out of 10 farmers say they act daily to protect and conserve water resources;
  • Approximately eight out of 10 farmers only support political candidates who have a stance on water conservation and protection; and 
  • Farmers tend to have very high awareness and understanding of the water cycle and other ecosystem processes related to water.

Researchers found farmers might not fully recognize agriculture’s role in water quality issues but are keenly aware of the increasing weather variability facing the U.S. and subsequent effects on water availability. The report builds a case for improved communication with farmers around water issues, based on their unique views and personal experiences.  

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