More than two-thirds of Iowa farmers who responded to Iowa State University (ISU) Extension’s 2011 Farm Poll believe climate change is real.
Sixty-eight percent of the farmers who returned the survey agreed that climate change is occurring. Twenty-eight percent said there is not enough evidence to know for sure, while five percent said climate change is not occurring.
It’s the first time questions on climate change have been asked in the ISU Farm Poll, and Extension sociologist J. Arbuckle says he was somewhat surprised by the high percentage of climate change believers.
“There’s been quite a bit of rhetoric over the years coming from farm groups and other agricultural interests about climate change,” Arbuckle says, “and a lot of discussion of how the jury is still out, it’s very uncertain whether or not climate change is occurring—and if it’s occurring, then what is it attributable to?
“So I was probably a little bit surprised at the magnitude of agreement that climate change is actually occurring, among farmers. I didn’t know quite what to expect—but I think I expected a little bit lower percentage.”
Among those who believe climate change is real, there is considerable disagreement as to what is causing it.
Twenty-three percent say it is caused mostly by natural changes in the environment; ten percent say it is caused mostly by human activities; and, 35 percent say it is caused by a mix of natural changes and human activities.
The farm poll questionnaires were mailed in January and February of this year. Usable surveys were received from 1,276 farmers.
On average, farm poll participants were 65 years old.