December 11/Washington/U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance -- Nearly 60% of consumers say the availability of information about how their food is grown and raised is extremely important, according to research recently revealed by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.

More than 1,000 consumers who were deemed "very aware of food issues and more focused on food quality than the average consumer," responded to the May, 2013, online survey conducted by USFRA in conjunction with maslansky + partners communications.

In addition to the nearly 60% who say food info is extremely important (rated as an 8-10 on a 10-point scale), more than 50% say they want more information than they are currently getting.

According to USFRA, the survey results are good news: farmers have the information consumers want.

"As an agriculture community, we have the tools, the real-life experiences and the stories to share with those who purchase the food we grow and raise," said Katie Pratt, an Illinois farmer and one of USFRA's Faces of Farming and Ranching. "The call for transparency from the American consumer is real," she said.

When asked about which was more important in a purchasing decision, cost or how much information is available about how it was grown or raised, 45% of total survey respondents chose information and 55% chose cost.

"Information about how a food product was grown and raised is important for consumers. It's almost as important as the price," notes Bob Stallman, American Farm Bureau president and USFRA chairman. "That is significant."

Not only is the statistic significant, but it is not going away any time soon, USFRA says. In fact, the research found that younger shoppers, ages 21-29, are more likely to purchase one food item over another based on which item includes more information about its origin.

In addition, the findings show, most consumers do not believe they are currently provided enough information about food when making purchasing decisions.

"For the American consumer, trust in the agriculture community is based in truth and all farmers and ranchers have a narrative to share," a USFRA statement said. "There is a truthful and transparent story to tell in how all farmers and ranchers grow and raise food."

The margin of error on the survey was +/- 3%.