As part of 2011 the Archibull Prize entry surveys were promoted to teachers of each school participating. Teachers were asked to select at least 30 students to complete the entry survey (with a vision that the same students would also complete the exit survey).
We will be releasing the full results of the survey in January 2012. In the meantime in light of the discussion about careers in agriculture I would like to share a few interesting survey insights with you.
Knowledge about farming in Australia
In general, students from both primary and secondary schools demonstrated reasonably good knowledge about farmers and farming; however, there is some scope for improvement.
- Interestingly most primary (90%) and secondary (82%) school students incorrectly said that farmers were between the ages of 30 and 50 years old.
- A higher percentage of secondary school students (50%), compared to primary school students (35%), correctly identified 60 million as the number of people that Australian farmers feed.
- Only 7% correctly identified “93%” as the percentage of how much food eaten in Australia comes from Australia (44% of respondents said “45%”, which was the most popular answer)
- Most primary (94%) and secondary (74%) school students said they wanted to know more about farming.
Attitudes and perceptions of farmers and farming in Australia
Primary and secondary school students demonstrated a generally positive
view of farmers and farming.
- Most primary (89%) and most secondary (75%) students said that farmers are important to them.
- Most (75%) of both primary and secondary school students said that the food made in Australia is “better than food from other countries
- More than 80% of both primary and secondary school students said that the statements “It is important to know where your food comes from” and “It is best to buy Australian made products” are true and the statement “People in cities don’t need farmers” is FALSE.
More than 80% of primary school students said the following statements are also TRUE:
- “Farmers look after the environment”
- “Farming is a good job for a young person”
More than 80% of secondary school students said that the following statements are also TRUE:
- “Farmers contribute to Australia’s economy”
- “Farmers use science and technology to help them produce food”
More than 80% of secondary school students said that the following statements are also FALSE:
- “People in cities don’t need farmers”
- “To work in agriculture you need to live in the country”
- “A drought does not affect people living in cities”
Perceptions about farming as a career
In response to the statement “Farming is a good career choice for a young person”, more secondary than primary school students responded “unsure” (33% for secondary school, 14% for primary school)
On the other hand more primary than secondary school students responded “true” (45% for secondary school, 81% for primary school).
These are very important insights and provide a great platform for primary industries, agribusiness and the government and education sectors to take a collaborative approach and partner to build on the postives and address the negatives and debunk the myth conceptions. We have 7 billion people to feed, house and clothe and we need farmers to do this.