Survey: Iowa shoppers’ top food production concern is government regulations that raise food costs

(The Center Square) – Eight in 10 Iowa shoppers say they are concerned about government regulation that increases food costs, Iowa Farm Bureau found in survey results it released this week.

That’s up from 62% last year, the farm organization reported. While last year’s survey found grocery shoppers ranked these regulations the sixth most concerning aspect of food production, they’re now ranking it their top concern.

The Harris Poll conducted the survey online May 10 through 26 on behalf of Iowa Farm Bureau. The survey asked 504 Iowa grocery shoppers aged 20 to 60 years to describe their purchasing habits and attitudes. Data were weighed by education, age, gender, race, income, household size, material status, and propensity to be online as needed to align with actual proportions in the population. Survey respondents had previously agreed to participate in Iowa Farm Bureau surveys. Overall, sample data is accurate within +5.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level.

The survey found that about one in four Iowa shoppers said price is the most important factor in buying meat, poultry and dairy products. Two-thirds of shoppers said price is in the top three most important factors.

Nearly all (92%) of those surveyed said they trust Iowa farmers. Four in five said they feel confident Iowa farmers are caring for the environment, and 84% said they are confident that Iowa farmers care for their animals responsibly.

About three in four said they are confident Iowa farmers are taking on the challenge of improving water quality. After they were told Iowa farmers use no-till and reduced tillage practices to reduce soil disruption and protect water quality, 83% said they were confident about farmers’ efforts to improve water quality. After the survey said U.S. agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions per-unit of food, fiber and energy produced has declined by about 24% since 1990, 72% of respondents said they are confident farmers are implementing sustainable practices.

Iowa grocery shoppers also weighed in on their use of ethanol for their vehicles. The survey found that 71% of Iowa shoppers are likely to increase their consumption of fuel that contains ethanol after learning that corn-based ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 40-50%, compared to regular gasoline. Sixty-five percent said they are likely to increase use of ethanol after learning that ethanol is made from corn, and Iowa leads the nation in both corn and ethanol production.

Nearly all Iowa households surveyed said they eat meat at least weekly. About 90% said they consider meat and milk healthy. Two-thirds say they are more likely to consume more meat and dairy after they were presented with the foods’ unique nutritional attributes, the release said.

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