Arizona’s Voters Understand the Connection between Food,Water and Arizona Agriculture

By Staff Reports, Arizona Farm Bureau: Arizona’s voters clearly understand the relationship between water, food, and the farm and ranch families who produce it, according to a recent poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for release at today’s Arizona Agricultural Water Summit.

Arizona cotton farmer Dan Thelander inspects his drip irrigation system. Thelander and farmers throughout Arizona employ the latest watering technologies to not only conserve water but provide optimum watering conditions for plants and livestock. Other irrigation methods include basin, pivot and siphon tube. 

The survey of likely Arizona voters provides a glimpse into how they think Arizona’s farm and ranch families are conserving and managing water and how the voters might prioritize solutions today.  Additionally, Arizona voters say they are carefully protective of   making sure we keep water on Arizona’s farms and ranches. 

“Conservation of natural resources such as water in an economic framework while enhancing the environment is a valuable contribution to the state,” said Arizona Farm Bureau President Kevin Rogers. “It’s encouraging to see the public’s support of our effective use of such a critical resource.”

Two-thirds of Arizona voters approve of the job Arizona’s farm and ranch families are doing in managing water resources.  By a 66 to 12 percent margin (21% do not know) Arizona voters approve of how Arizona’s farms and ranches manage the water resources they use to grow food.  “Voters see how Arizona’s farmers and ranchers plan, implement and manage water resources whether on an individual well basis or with many efficiently and effectively organized irrigation districts throughout our state,” said Grant Ward who served as one of three water policy experts to the Summit.

In the survey, 85 percent of Arizona’s voters are concerned about the availability of water for Arizona’s farms and ranches.  Only 14 percent are not concerned.  When survey respondents were presented with solutions to these concerns they selected “Spending more tax dollars to build water storage dams and pipelines” by a 73 to 23 percent margin. “Arizona’s voters are informed and they understand we need to invest in water infrastructure to survive in the southwest,” said David Brown an attorney and rancher who served as one of the water policy experts.

Additionally, moving water from Arizona’s farms and ranches is opposed by 63 percent of Arizona’s voters and only supported by 27 percent according to the survey.  “These voters seem to get the connection between food and water,” stated Paul Orme, attorney and rancher who served as one of the water policy experts.

The Arizona Agricultural Water Summit is a gathering of more than 60 farmers, ranchers and their representatives who have come together to have a conversation about agricultural water needs in Arizona. 

The Public Opinion Strategies Poll of 600 Likely Arizona voters was a “live interview” telephone survey designed to be representative of the probable 2016 Arizona General Election turnout and has a margin of error of +/- 4.0%.

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