Consumers Hopeful Ag Can Positively Impact Climate Change

When it comes to climate change, consumers view agriculture as a part of the solution rather than the problem. Among participants in Cargill’s recent global Feed4Thought survey, those who indicated climate change as important to them also rated livestock and agriculture lowest in negative impact compared with other industries generally regarded as significant contributors. More than one-third of respondents expressed confidence in the industry’s ability to limit its contributions to climate change.   

“Farmers are critical to feeding the world sustainably and responsibly,” said Ruth Kimmelshue, who leads Cargill’s animal nutrition & health business. “With a growing population and rising consumer interest in climate change, they are also part of the solution to address some of the toughest environmental challenges. At Cargill, our focus continues to be advocating for farmers by supporting and amplifying efforts to reduce their environmental footprint, methane emissions and, in turn, climate impact.”

Cargill’s Feed4Thought survey included responses from 2,510 consumers representing the U.S., France, South Korea and Brazil. From among all participants, transportation and deforestation were ranked as the greatest contributors to climate change. According to consumers surveyed, who’s most responsible for accelerating change? 59% said that federal and national governments bear the highest responsibility for addressing climate change, while 57% saw companies involved in beef production and 50% saw cattle farmers as responsible for reducing the impact of livestock.


“Sustainability in our food systems starts with the dedication of our farmers,” said Heather Tansey, sustainability lead for Cargill’s protein and animal nutrition businesses. “Producers around the world are seeking and implementing solutions to mitigate emissions while providing quality care for their animals.”

While consumer views varied by region, the quarterly survey found that nearly 80% of consumers around the world who indicated climate change as important reported a willingness to make a change in the type of food they purchase. In turn, about half of these consumers said they would be willing to pay a premium for a product that promises a low carbon footprint to curb their impact.

Today, about 14.5% of global human-originated emissions can be attributed to agriculture[2] and approximately 3% of U.S. emissions are attributed to methane emitted as a result of enteric fermentation – a natural part of the digestive process in ruminant animals[3]. Though the contribution is relatively small, consumers believe that reducing methane emissions is still important. Of those surveyed, one-fourth said they would purchase more beef if cattle were fed an additive or used other technology to reduce methane emissions. This indicates a growing consumer interest in innovative solutions to address and curb methane emissions from the agriculture industry.

Feed for thought 2

The Feed4Thought findings also show that, when asked about the most important factors considered at point of purchase, consumers ranked taste, avoidance of antibiotics/growth hormones/steroids use, and knowing where products come from highest.

Though the people surveyed indicated this willingness, the new survey also suggests a need to further engage consumers on existing efforts in agriculture to address climate impacts and deepen the conversation surrounding methane emissions and other sustainable practices.

“Ultimately, our farmers are being asked to do more with fewer resources,” said Jon Nash, who leads Cargill’s animal protein and salt business. “The future of agriculture requires us to collectively enable farmers with the resources and innovation they need to meet sustainability challenges, while ensuring strong farming businesses for themselves and their families.”

Learn how Cargill is helping to curb methane emissions on



Latest News

NCBA Reports On Q1 Voluntary Price Discovery Framework

NCBA president Jerry Bohn said a major trigger in negotiated trade data was tripped during the first quarter of 2021, as determined by the Live Cattle Marketing Working Group Regional Triggers Subgroup.

TSCRA Disaster Relief Fund Distributes Aid

Thanks to contributions from across the U.S., Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Disaster Relief Fund mailed checks totaling $112,750 to cattle raisers financially burdened by February’s Winter Storm Uri.

Retail Beef Sales Remain Strong During February

Sales of all food and beverage items during February were 11.8% higher than during February 2020, and the meat department was an above-average performer.

Land Grab or Climate Solution? President Biden Could Unveil '30 by 30' Plan Details Next Week

Details of a U.S. land and water related executive order could be unveiled soon. Known as the ’30 by 30’ plan, it would place 30% of U.S. lands and 30% of U.S. waters under federal jurisdiction by 2030.

Ranching by the Seat of Your Pants

Oregon rancher Alec Oliver was determined to return to ranching and working from horseback after he was paralyzed in a vehicle accident nearly a decade ago.

CRP ground rotator
Vilsack Hints at Possible CRP Changes Coming Soon with Biden's 30 By 30 Plan

CRP could be in focus again. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said this week that he thinks greater opportunities are coming for landowners to take less productive farmland out of production and place into CRP.