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Does the Public Care About How Climate Change Might Affect Agriculture?

March 2016

Gi-Eu Lee, Scott Loveridge, Julie A. Winkler


Many researchers have studied the opinion of policy makers toward government intervention to help the agriculture industry adapt to climate change. There have also been numerous studies of farmer’s attitudes toward receiving this support, but very little work has been done to understand the general public’s attitude toward such measures. The researchers used responses from IPPSR’s State of the State survey to measure attitudes among the general public across the state of Michigan toward government support for agriculture adapting to climate change. They found that a large majority of Michigan residents support government action to assist farmers in adapting to climate change, in fact the support for such measures was significantly higher than support for general government adaptations to climate change. Additionally, support was higher during an abnormal warm spell, especially at the beginning of the warm spell.

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Policy Implications

The public’s general support of such government interventions is important. When developing climate change policy based on public support, it will be important to account for the publics differing opinions on government intervention in various sectors, as evidenced by the stronger support for agricultural intervention here. Policy makers should also be cautious about interpreting data from surveys conducted during particular types of weather, as it can have an effect on public opinion as it relates to climate change.

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