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New report on ‘Agricultural Sustainability and Food Production’ released

In collaboration with William Masters at Tufts University, Chris Said from Apollo Academic Surveys asked leaders, fellows, and awardees of the American Society of Agronomy, the American Society of Animal Science, and the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association about their views on agriculture and food production.

The results of the survey was publish by Apollo Academic Surveys in a report on October 7, 2022.

Primary results

  1. Threats to food production sustainability and the role of climate change: Climate change was ranked the biggest threat to sustainability of food production in the U.S., with 51% of researchers ranking it as the top threat. Lower ranked threats included resource depletion, economic viability, government regulation, and biodiversity loss, which were ranked as the top threat by 21%, 19%, 10% and 2% of respondents respectively.
  2. Actions to improve sustainability and use of more traditional techniques: We asked respondents what changes in agricultural production methods could improve the sustainability of food production. Respondents favored farm diversification, defined as producing more than 3 different crop and livestock species, which 69% said would improve sustainably. Fewer respondents thought that producing closer to consumers (45%), more organic certification (27%), or using older more traditional production techniques (11%) would improve sustainability.
  3. Threats to well-being from how food is produced: When we asked respondents to rank threats to the overall well-being of Americans from the way food is produced, the top threat cited by researchers is how food manufacturing transforms whole foods into processed and packaged items with added salt, sugar and other potentially harmful chemicals, which 32% of researchers ranked as the top threat. Lower ranked threats included greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, risks from bacteria and antibiotic resistance, and risks from crop chemical residues and runoff.
  4. Actions to improve the well-being of Americans: The highest priority was more restrictive standards on the use of antibiotics in livestock and food animals, which 58% of respondents thought would improve the well-being of Americans. Fewer respondents thought that more restrictive standards on use of crop chemicals (44%) or more restrictive standards on the use of GMOs (11%) would improve the well-being of Americans.

Source: Apollo Academic Surveys. View the report and questionnaire responses here
Chris Said and William A. Masters (2022), Apollo Academic Survey on Agricultural Sustainability and Food Production. Released 7 October 2022 at www.apollosurveys.org.
Photo: Credit Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash
Related: Food, Nutrition, and Health report

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