In its new global study, Cargill found consumers had a hard-to-satisfy wish list for those who put food on our tables. Farmers should care most about "providing safe, healthy, abundant and affordable food," said a majority of survey takers who would prefer their food come from smaller/specialty, local or organic farms.
In its latest Feed4Thought survey, Cargill found half the people surveyed in the U.S., China, Mexico and Spain saw a farmer, primarily, as a "person who feeds the world." Just a quarter chose "steward of the earth's natural resources"—perhaps reflecting that one-third of contributors doubted the long-term sustainability of today's agriculture. They want farmers to be sustainable though: "Sustainable" was the word that best described what participants wanted a farmer to be. Efficient was second.
Three-quarters of Feed4Thought respondents thought technologically advanced farming was a good thing. But that's not exactly how they see farmers today. "Technologically savvy" was one of the terms least associated with farmers.
Survey findings suggest a need to engage consumers on animal farming in particular. Although there was a 95% positive view of farmers, animal protein producers were viewed less favorably than farmers who grew crops.
Feed4Thought is a regular consumer survey from Cargill's animal nutrition business that explores perspectives on leading topics in the animal protein supply chain. The latest survey, conducted in July 2019 by Engine, polled a demographically representative sample of 4,000 adults in the U.S., China, Mexico and Spain.