Survey Says Marylanders Concerned About Environment, Want Local Farm Products

ANNAPOLIS (Feb. 22, 2008) - The 2008 Policy Choices Survey by the University of Baltimore Schaefer Center for Public Policy found that 78 percent of Marylanders are more likely to buy produce that is identified as having been grown by a Maryland farmer. The telephone survey of 812 adult Marylanders also found that residents are concerned about the environment.

Forty-four percent of those surveyed say they are willing to pay at least some premium for farm products that would support Maryland farmers. Further supporting agriculture, a full 97 percent of those surveyed said that it is at least "somewhat important" that the state preserve land for farming. The results remained steady from last year's survey.

In regards to the environment, industrial discharge (91%) and sewage treatment plants (87%) were perceived to pose the most serious threats to the health of the Bay. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed identified farm runoff as having a major impact on the Bay while 70 percent identified growth and development as a serious threat. Sixty-four percent said storm runoff from urban areas was a major impact.

"Consumer response to this survey is good news for Maryland farmers," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "Marylanders understand that agricultural products are essential to creating a sustainable Maryland to protect our culture, our economy and our environment. Buying local will help continue our effort to protect and strengthen our middle class, our family owned businesses and our family farms, while preserving our farmlands and promoting rural economic development programs."

The Maryland Department of Agriculture has participated in the Schaefer Center Policy Choices Survey since 2002 to gauge public opinion about a number of farming issues and consumer preferences.

The telephone survey is conducted annually. The 2008 survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.44 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

More information about and results from the survey can be found online at .

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