(OVERLAND PARK, Kan.)- Nearly 90 percent of Americans have a favorable view of farmers, and 92 percent said it was important to provide them with federal funding, according to a new national poll released today. Furthermore, positive marks cut across party lines, showing that a strong farm policy is a bipartisan issue.
“Americans overwhelmingly like farmers and support the programs that protect them,” explained Jon McHenry, vice president of North Star Opinion Research, the polling firm that explored the general public’s views on farmers, farm policy and crop insurance. “This response is not surprising when you consider that eight in 10 voters believe a vibrant agricultural industry was critical to the country’s national security.”
More than 70 percent of voters also said they believed that farmers should help fund part of their own safety net. This cost-sharing structure is at the heart of America’s crop insurance policy, with farmers paying a portion of their insurance premiums and shouldering, on average, 25 percent of crop losses through deductibles.
Those polled were impressed. Nearly 80 percent said they supported giving farmers discounts on insurance premiums and the vast majority agreed that the current premium and deductible amounts absorbed by farmers were appropriate.
Americans also weighed in on the delivery of crop insurance. When asked who should implement the system, voters agreed by a 20-point margin that farmers and taxpayers were better served by private companies delivering crop insurance instead of the government.
Support for farm policy and crop insurance even remained high when poll respondents were read a misleading statement often used by farm policy’s critics.
“In a question providing both sides, the security argument in favor of protecting farms wins by a two-to-one margin over the argument used by farm policy opponents,” McHenry said.
The public opinion poll, which was commissioned by the National Crop Insurance Services, is available at www.cropinsuranceinamerica.org. The phone survey of 1,000 registered voters was conducted April 3-7 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.