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Consumers confident in Canadian agriculture, survey shows

December 12, 2022  By Fruit & Vegetable

Canadian farmers are integral to both the local and global food supply and have been facing a wealth of challenges in recent years – from an impending recession that is affecting food prices to climate change and extreme weather events, global conflicts, the COVID-19 pandemic, and supply chain disruptions. Despite these challenges, Canadian farmers persevere, and a new survey shows consumers remain confident in their ability to weather the storm.

According to the 2022 Perceptions of Canadian Agriculture Survey, released on Dec. 12 by Climate FieldView and conducted among members of the online Angus Reid Forum, the vast majority (98 per cent) of Canadians recognize the country’s farmers’ importance to domestic food security, and four in five Canadians say they are confident in their ability to continue meeting domestic food demand.

When Canadians were asked about the extreme weather events that occurred in the past year, 62 per cent of survey respondents say they have an increased appreciation for Canadian agriculture. This growth in appreciation is particularly evident when looking at regions such as B.C., where 76 per cent noted an increase in appreciation after major flooding events impacted key agricultural regions of the province in 2021. Similarly, the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI), who recently released their 2022 public trust research report, also determined that environmental issues are top of mind for Canadians as one of the greatest threats to Canada’s food system alongside inflation and labour shortages.


“Canadians are making the connection on the importance of Canadian farmers to our food system,” says Matt Eves, Bayer Canada digital farming lead.  “Farmers have faced many external challenges in recent years, trying to meet supply demands for Canadians while also striving to innovate to stay ahead of these challenges, while ensuring sustainability remains top of mind.”

In order to better manage these challenges on farms, many Canadian farmers are turning to technology to help make better use of their resources and reduce the impacts of climate change as much as possible, and better manage unexpected issues that may arise. As a result, modern farms today look much different than the image Canadians might have in their minds.

When asked what kinds of technology came to mind that farmers use in their operations, 26 per cent of respondents could not cite any examples, and only 13 per cent of Canadians viewed agriculture as more innovative compared to other domestic industries. Furthermore, while the CCFI report showed four in 10 strongly agree that Canadian farmers are good stewards of the environment, 16 per cent of respondents in the study did not know how Canadian farmers support sustainability, showing many may not understand the true impact technology and innovation has on farming and sustainability.

“Right now, there is a gap in knowledge of the innovation on farms,” Eves said. “But public awareness and support for these advancements will be crucial for the industry to continue to innovate to be more sustainable and resilient in order to face ongoing challenges in the future.”

Highlights from the 2022 Perceptions of Canadian Agriculture Report

  • About four in five Canadians are confident in the domestic agricultural industry’s ability to keep up with demand, nearly unchanged from last year across Canada; however, confidence in individual provinces has shifted, with Saskatchewan dropping from near universal confidence (99 per cent) in 2021 to 84 per cent now.
    • Quebec residents were more than twice as likely as last year to say they are very confident (41 per cent vs. 16 per cent, respectively).
    • For those who lacked confidence, the most common responses noted concerns around extreme weather events and climate change as major factors (37 per cent) and limitations on resources, such as fewer farmers and land for farming (38 per cent).
  • When asked about extreme weather events that occurred in the past year, 62 per cent of Canadians say they have an increased appreciation for Canadian agriculture, with the highest increase in appreciation coming from British Columbia (76 per cent).
    • Ontario: 69 per cent
    • Atlantic Canada: 63 per cent
    • Alberta: 60 per cent
    • Saskatchewan/Manitoba: 57 per cent
    • Quebec: 46 per cent
  • The vast majority of Canadians across all regions believe the country’s farmers are very important to domestic food security (90 per cent), though only 67 per cent would rate Canada’s importance in global food security as very important.
    • Interestingly, Canadians among the younger generation (18-34) were significantly less likely than older generations to say Canadian farmers are very important, both for domestic and global food security.
      • Eighty-four per cent see Canadian farmers as very important to domestic food security, compared to 90 per cent and 95 per cent among the 35-54 and 55+ age groups, respectively.
      • Only 50 per cent see Canadian farmers as very important to global food security, compared to 67 per cent and 80 per cent among the 35-54 and 55+ age groups, respectively.
  • Only 13 per cent of Canadians see agriculture as more innovative than other domestic industries
    • Alberta: 23 per cent
    • Saskatchewan/Manitoba: 21 per cent
    • Atlantic Canada: 14 per cent
    • Ontario: 13 per cent
    • British Columbia: nine per cent
    • Quebec: eight per cent
  • Sixteen per cent of Canadians don’t know how farmers support sustainability, down from nearly one quarter of Canadians in 2021.
  • Knowledge of innovation in Canadian agriculture is low, with 36 per cent saying they don’t know how it compares to other Canadian industries and another two in five (39 per cent) expecting it’s about the same.

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