- Author: John M Harper
The findings of the study showed that "the number of Americans who are familiar with the term factory farming has increased since 2008, rising by 15 percentage points." In addition, it found that "the percentage of consumers who associate factory farming with chickens has risen significantly since 2008 but those who associate it with cattle has remained stable. Beef cattle are much more associated with factory farming than are dairy cattle."
"Consumers overwhelmingly associate factory farming with big agriculture and large scale farming. They describe factory farming as being industrialized, using machinery and technology, owned by big corporations and producing large numbers of animals. A small percentage seem to have bought into the activist argument that factory farms are driving small family farms out of business."
Beef producers need to be especially proactive about responding to the following from the survey results. "Of some concern is the finding that well over half (58%) of consumers who are familiar with factory farming believe the beef they buy at the supermarket comes from cattle raised in a factory farm setting. This percentage has not changed since 2008. In addition, of those who think their beef is from factory farms, more than half (56%) are concerned (with 41% saying they have a great deal of concern) about the safety of the beef they buy. This percentage, as well, has not changed significantly since 2008."
Education of consumers is extremely important no matter how your market your cattle. Take the time to share what you know about your industry with your non-producing friends, family and neighbors.
I've attached the full Check-off article, but you may also read it on-line at: http://www.beefresearch.org/CMDocs/BeefResearch/Market%20Research/Project%20Snapshot%20Factory%20Farming%20081810.pdf.