A majority of U.S. adults have a positive view of farmers’ sustainability practices and an overwhelming majority trust farmers, according to a new national public opinion poll from the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).
Nearly nine in 10 adults (88%) trust farmers, a 4% increase from AFBF’s June 2020 polling, which is evidence the public recognized that food supply chain challenges brought on by the pandemic weren’t within the control of farmers and ranchers.
The survey of 2,200 U.S. adults also found that more than half (58%) rate the sustainability practices of U.S. farmers positively, with broad agreement from a majority of adults across demographic groups.
The survey also explored public attitudes about the environmental sustainability achievements of farmers and ranchers, as well as future direction to advance climate-smart farming. Overall, the public agrees farmers shouldn’t be expected to bear the financial burden alone.
Support for farmers’ sustainability efforts swelled when government data was shared about achievements.
Looking to the future, the survey explores how Americans think sustainability efforts on farms and ranches should be funded.
Seventy percent of adults say government incentives to encourage farmers to adopt additional sustainable agricultural practices would be effective.
More than three-quarters of adults believe it is important for the government to fund science-based research (76%) and improve infrastructure (78%) to support agriculture.
Work is needed
The survey also revealed there is still work to be done to increase awareness of agriculture’s comparatively small contribution to greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. More than four in five adults (84%) weren’t able to correctly identify agriculture’s impact.
On a brighter note, nearly one-half of adults (45%) correctly ranked agriculture as the smallest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions by economic sector.