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Agribusinesses score highly for Net Trust led by Elders ahead of Wesfarmers, Norco, Nutrien Ag Solutions & John Deere

Source: Roy Morgan Agribusiness Industry Risk Survey 2021. Base: Total 1,028 Regional Australians aged 18+.
A special Roy Morgan Agribusiness Industry Risk Survey looking at trust and distrust in Australia’s agricultural sector shows Elders rated as the most trusted agribusiness in regional Australia. The strong performance from Elders was a standout but there were several leading brands including Wesfarmers, Norco, Nutrien Ag Solutions, John Deere, CRT and Landmark that also rated as trusted brands in the industry.

The results in the Roy Morgan Agribusiness Industry Risk survey are based on 1,028 interviews with rural and regional Australians aged 18+ conducted online during June 2021.

The key drivers of trust to emerge from the survey are an established, long-standing relationship, a well-known brand that people are familiar with, good quality and effective products, a local focus, professional, knowledgeable and experienced staff and good customer service and experiences with the company.

Top five reasons for Trust in Agribusiness Brands

Source: Roy Morgan Agribusiness Industry Risk Survey 2021. Base: Total 1,028 Regional Australians aged 18+.

Elders emerges as most trusted Agribusiness brand with highest Net Trust Score

Elders has emerged as the most trusted brand in Agribusiness with the 182 year old company scoring more highly than the industry as a whole for having an ‘established’ and ‘long standing brand’. Elders received strong marks for its excellent customer service provided by friendly, professional, knowledgeable, efficient and experienced staff, good reputation, high quality and effective products and solid local focus.

In their own words respondents describe the established and long-standing nature of the Elders brand among reasons for trusting the brand: ‘They are long-established in this region and have been well-respected over generations’, ‘They’re an old trusted company with lots of veteran country advisers on hand to assist’, ‘They have been a presence in country towns for many years’, ‘They’ve been in business for a long-time and have known what products are best and how to use them’ and ‘Been here forever and have staff that understand farming’.

The high quality of the Elders staff was also a key driver of their market-leading Net Trust Score with respondents remarking upon their ‘knowledgeable staff’, ‘quality personnel’, ‘They provide good service, have friendly capable staff and are a local business’, ‘The local agents are always good to deal with’, ‘The staff are reliable and honest’, ‘They’re ethical good guys’, ‘I trust the staff’, ‘Their stock agents give good advice and are local people’ and many additional epithets.

The customer service at Elders is a step above the industry as a whole according to respondents: ‘They provide great services to farmers and have branches across Australia with local links’, ‘Great service from the first time I went there for assistance’, ‘Good record and good service’, ‘Longstanding great service’, ‘They have a good insurance service, and the person I deal with is always reliable’ and ‘Elders has been around a long time and is dedicated to serving its customers’.

Wesfarmers and Norco also rated highly for Net Trust with respondents describing Wesfarmers as: ‘Well-known, been around a long time’, ‘Good reputation’, ‘Reliable and helpful service in the past’, ‘Well-regarded and been around forever’, ‘It’s established in WA and well-respected’, ‘Know them well and never had any problems’, ‘Professional service and great company’ and ‘Good suppliers and operators’.

Norco received high marks as: ‘Reliable and honest’, ‘Very helpful and honest’, ‘Excellent service’, ‘Australian owned’, ‘Local advice and friendly staff’, ‘It’s a smaller company but good service’, ‘Norco are a small business who supply small towns so I support them’, ‘They put dairy farmers’ interests before profit’, ‘They usually have everything you need in one shop’ and ‘I’ve dealt with them for over 20 years – so loyalty’.

Distrust in Agribusiness driven by environmental concerns and dangerous or toxic chemicals

The key themes mentioned as reasons for distrust in agribusiness brands include dangerous or toxic chemicals, environmental concerns, dishonesty and greed.

Respondents continually brought up chemical products as a negative: ‘Cancer causing products’, ‘’Hiding the carcinogenic effects of their products’ and ‘They produce dangerous chemicals’.

The respondent comments about toxic chemicals also feed into concerns about the environmental impact these companies leave in their wake: ‘They have no care for the environment’, ‘The social and environmental damage their chemicals cause’ and ‘They’re poisoning the earth and it’s people’.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine credits brands such as Elders for driving a high Net Trust rating for the agribusiness industry although there are laggards dealing with high distrust:

“A special Roy Morgan Agribusiness Industry Risk Survey shows the sector as a whole enjoys a high level of trust from rural and regional Australians – the very people who rely most heavily on the agribusiness industry to support their businesses and way of life.

“Elders is the most trusted agribusiness brand although there are also high Net Trust ratings for other companies such as Wesfarmers, Norco, Nutrien Ag Solutions and John Deere.

“The high rating for Elders is based on several factors including its long-standing name in the industry and the high level of customer service and good experiences with the company many have had. Elders is also widely known for its friendly, professional, and knowledgeable staff, it’s local focus and its good reputation for quality and high standards.

“However, there are some exceptions to the generally high trust seen in the sector with distrust driven by concerns about the perception a company’s industrial products are dangerous and toxic and are causing environmental damage. There is also a belief among many in rural and regional Australia that some companies are more interested in profit and control rather than genuine safety and human welfare.

“Roy Morgan’s research shows that whilst key drivers of trust differ across industries and brands it is the cornerstone of building a sustainable future for a business. Trust builds human connections with business, underpins brand reputation and creates customer loyalty. Trust promotes customer advocacy and referrals, drives revenue growth and increases market capitalisation.

“At the other end of the spectrum distrust is one of the most significant, yet least recognised risks to Australian business and society in general. Distrust kills audience engagement, is the tipping point for reputational damage and directly impacts commercial and economic outcomes. Distrust is the bellwether for an unsustainable future.”

These insights are drawn from the Roy Morgan Agribusiness Industry Risk survey based on 1,028 interviews with rural and regional Australians aged 18+ conducted online during June 2021.

The related Roy Morgan Risk Monitor is an ongoing survey based on over 1,800 interviews each month to measure levels of trust and distrust in more than 900 brands across 26 industry sectors. Respondents are asked which brands and companies they trust, and why, and which brand and companies they distrust, and why. The survey is specially designed to be open-ended and context-free, i.e. unprompted.

To gain a greater understanding of Roy Morgan’s Risk research or to explore the results for specific industries and brands contact Roy Morgan. For rankings of key brands view the March 2021 edition of the Roy Morgan Risk Report.