Only 8% Of U.S. Farmers Believe Climate Change Is Primarily Caused By Human Activity
The vast majority of U.S. farmers are sceptical of anthropogenic climate change although they are among the most affected by the climate.
There’s a strange paradox in the world of agriculture: farmers are perhaps the segment of the population most affected by climate change, and yet a significant number of them don’t believe in it—especially the notion that it’s man-made.
I encountered this phenomenon as I reported a feature for Fortune on how agricultural giant Monsanto is attempting to help farmers both mitigate their impact on the environment and adapt to climate change. All the farmers I talked to readily acknowledged that the weather patterns governing growing seasons had been turned upside down (sic) in recent years, but I was on the receiving end of a lot of eye rolls whenever I brought up climate change. [...]
I don’t want to suggest that all farmers reject the concept of climate change. That’s not the case. But here’s what some of the numbers show: A survey conducted by Iowa State Professor J. Arbuckle and Purdue University professor Linda Prokopy of 5,000 Cornbelt farmers—representing about 60% of U.S. corn production and 80% of farmland in the region—found that only 8% believed climate change is taking place and caused primarily by human activity. That 8% figure is significantly lower than the general population. A poll from January found that 27% of the general public primarily blames human activity.
Meanwhile, 33% of the farmers surveyed said climate change was caused more or less equally by natural changes and human activities, 25% said it was caused by changes in the environment, 31% said there wasn’t sufficient evidence to know if climate change is occurring, and 4% said climate change is not happening.