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The fifth biennial Survey of Rural Decision Makers was conducted in winter 2021. The survey addressed similar topics to the previous four waves (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019), but questions have been refined to reflect topics of emerging interest. In 2021, these topics included regenerative agriculture, emergent weeds, greenhouse gas emissions, managerial focus, well-being and stress, sources of information and advice, and consumer expectations.

These survey data:

  • Provide information that complements rather than repeating other surveys
  • Incorporate emerging topics of interest
  • Enable the delivery of a wide range of analyses and statistical information to support national, regional, and sector policy development and evaluation
  • Support research and insight into decision making among farmers, foresters, growers, and lifestyle block owners.

Summary results for 2021 are provided below. All participating farmers, foresters, and growers are invited to view the results – it is rare to be offered these insights despite the high number of surveys that they are asked to complete.

Survey results


Stahlmann-Brown P 2021.  Survey of Rural Decision Makers 2021. DOI:

About the survey


The 2021 wave of survey was completed by 6717 farmers, foresters, growers, and lifestyle block owners, a record response for the survey. 42% of respondents identify as being commercial operators while 58% identify as lifestyle block owners. In total, 1644 respondents also completed the 2019 wave.


To acknowledge the time and expertise shared with us, we made $30,000 in donations to charities selected by respondents. We are pleased to announce the rural sector’s support of the following charitable causes:

  • Westpac Chopper Appeal ($16,630)
  • Retired Working Dogs ($5000)
  • Farmstrong ($4370)
  • QEII National Trust ($4000)

Prize winners

We gratefully acknowledge everyone who participated in the 2021 Survey of Rural Decision Makers. Congratulations to the following five respondents, each of whom won a $500 supermarket voucher:

  • Rupert H, Rotorua
  • Antoinette J, Waitukaruru
  • Mike H, New Plymouth
  • George V, Winton
  • Robert W, Balcultha


If you would like to discuss how Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research can help your organisation gain insights from the Survey of Rural Decision Makers, please contact:

Joanne Dow
Principal Engagement Advisor
04 382 6641

Key science contact