Nearly three in five New Jersey residents say either they or a family member visited a local farm in the last 12 months to pick their own fruit, attend a wine tasting or go through a corn maze.

That's according to a new survey from Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind and sponsored by the New Jersey Farm Bureau.

At 59 percent, "this is up from 51 percent the last time the question was asked in 2012," said Rich Higginson, director of consumer research for FDU's PublicMind.

Those aged 18 to 34 and 34 to 59 are the most likely to have made the trip to a local farm, according to Higginson.

"Virtually all 95 percent of Jersey residents believe having a strong farming industry is important to the overall economic health of the state, with 75 percent of them saying it is very important," Higginson said.

Two-thirds, or 67 percent, surveyed also said they have heard of the slogan "Jersey Fresh," which is promoted by the state Department of Agriculture.

"In all measured demographics, the awareness was above 50 percent, which is an indication that the branding has reached a broad audience," Higginson said.

The poll also asked about proposed wage increases for all workers, as well as separate, smaller increases for seasonal agricultural workers.

According to the results, 44 percent of New Jersey residents supported increasing all workers’ wages to $10 per hour in 2018, and then to $15 by 2020. A similar percentage, 46, supported increasing all workers’ wages to $10 in 2018, but then capping seasonal agricultural workers’ wages at this level up to 2020.

Those from the so-called urban core are most likely to support raising all workers’ wages, at 55 percent.

FDU's PublicMind survey was conducted by landline and cell phone Oct. 12 through 16 among a random statewide sample of 912 adults. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 points.

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