A nationwide survey conducted for the National Corn Growers Association found broad public respect and trust for family farmers and support for corn as food, feed and fuel. Ninety-five percent of those polled find farmers to be trusted messengers on issues such as agriculture, corn products and ethanol – and ethanol itself was supported or strongly supported as a good fuel alternative by 65%.
“We expected to see some pretty solid results in this polling, but the final numbers were beyond what we imagined,” says NCGA President Darrin Ihnen, a farmer in Hurley, SD. “This high level of support is gratifying, and it is also a challenge for us to work hard to maintain the trust consumers have placed in us.”
When it comes to uses for corn, support was broad. Ninety-five percent support its use as food for people and 93% as livestock feed, while 67% support the use of corn as a sweetener and 65%, as noted, support corn-based ethanol. Other uses of corn, such as for fiber and packaging, were supported by 73% of those polled.
Respondents also spoke out about what they saw as the top benefits of corn-based ethanol. Thirty-four percent mentioned reduced dependence on foreign oil, 19% mentioned the creation of new jobs and 16% liked it for its environmental benefits.
“Farming is under attack in the mainstream media because some reporters seem to have the wrong idea about modern American agriculture,” Ihnen says. “One of our goals at NCGA is to help educate the media and the public about how current technology has helped family farmers do their traditional jobs more efficiently, more effectively and more affordably.”