Consumers: Tech in agriculture is good for world, but not sure about me

December 12, 2019 //By Rich Pell
Consumers: Tech in agriculture is good for world, but not sure about me
In a recent survey of consumers, agricultural products company Cargill (Wayzata, MN) found that while consumers believe technology in agriculture will feed the world more sustainably, many still prefer that their own food be sourced from farms using traditional methods.

According to 85% of the 3,000 participants in the company's three-continent Feed4Thought survey, technology in agriculture (ag-tech) is how we'll feed a growing population, make farming more sustainable, and improve the lives of farm animals. At the same time, says the company, only about half of those surveyed want their food to come from a technologically advanced (versus traditional) farm.

Survey respondents most wanted to see technology used in industries like medicine and education. Farming ranked third - above defense, manufacturing, retail, and food.

"We know that new technologies are allowing farmers to make better, faster, more informed decisions to feed a hungry world while protecting the planet," says Sri Raj Kantamneni, managing director of Cargill's digital business. "We also know that agriculture is still the least digitalized industry sector in the world."

"That means there's a lot of opportunity — and a lot of need—for greater investment in ag-tech," says Kantamneni. "This survey highlights that in order to help humanity benefit from these advancements, we first need to do a better job of explaining the value of new technologies to consumers."

The survey included participants from South Korea, the U.S., and France. The company says it found markedly different perceptions of ag-tech across the three surveyed countries.

South Korea was the most positive about high-tech farms - both as a source of food (70% pro) and for their potential to make farming more sustainable (95% pro) - while France was the most apprehensive, with only 37% wanting their food to come from a technologically advanced farm. France and the U.S. thought farmers should benefit most when ag-tech improves operations; South Korea chose consumers.

When it comes to tech investments, South Korean and American consumers agreed the top priority should be that it "increases food safety." French participants said technology should first and foremost "improve animal well-being."

Forty-two percent of survey takers said they'd welcome the use of sensors on

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