Seventy-eight percent of Marylanders are more likely to buy produce that is identified as having been grown by a Maryland farmer, according to the recently released 2012 Policy Choices Survey by the University of Baltimore Schaefer Center for Public Policy.
In addition, a full 92% of those surveyed said that it is at least “somewhat important” that the state preserve land for farming, while a full 61% said it was “very important.” These results, which are similar to those in the 2010 Policy Choices Survey, show consistent support for Maryland agriculture.
“The results show that Marylanders understand that preserving farmland and
buying locally are essential to keeping Maryland smart, green and growing,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “Marylanders not only want to protect and preserve our family farms and businesses and restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay, but they also understand the complexities of addressing these challenges. That understanding has helped, and will continue to help, us find innovative solutions for moving forward together.”
The survey revealed a significant understanding of the major threats impacting the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Seventy-two percent identified industrial discharge and 64% identified sewage treatment plants as major threats to the health of the bay. Fifty-four percent of those surveyed identified farm runoff as having a major impact on the bay; however, that figure is down from 66% in 2010. Fifty-three percent identified storm water runoff from urban areas as a major impact, while 50% saw growth and development as a major threat.
In addition, 42% thought runoff from residential lawns and backyards was a major threat to the bay, and 30% of respondents saw automobile emissions as a major threat.
“Every sector must do its part to help restore the Chesapeake Bay, and
farmers have been doing their part for years,” said Hance. “This survey shows that their efforts are being recognized and that the impact of other sectors is equally important to recognize and address.”
A new set of questions included in the survey this year pertained to Marylanders’ desire and habits regarding horse-related activities. Of those surveyed, 45% indicated they (or a household member) had wanted to participate in a horse-related activity. Of those respondents, 88% said they wanted to engage in sport or recreational riding, while 10% indicated they would like to horse race. However, only 14% of Marylanders indicated they had actually participated in such an event.
The gap between those who want to participate in horse-related activities and those who actually do is a main target of MDA’s Maryland Horse Industry Board, which was created to support the state’s horse industry.
The 2012 telephone survey of 808 adult Marylanders has a margin of error of +/- 3.45% at the 95% confidence level. The Maryland Department of Agriculture has periodically participated in the Schaefer Center Policy Choices Survey since 2002 to gauge public opinion about a number of farming issues and consumer preferences. The survey is conducted annually.
More information about the survey can be found online at http://scpp.ubalt.edu.