The beef cattle industry is both impacted by climate change and has opportunities to mitigate its impacts. A 2016 survey was conducted of beef cattle industry professionals in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Respondent beliefs were assessed using two questions. When asked, “is climate changing?” 57% provided affirmative responses. The majority also believed human activity was at least partially responsible (8% mostly human caused, 54% human and natural causes, 27% natural causes). Those attributing climate change to human action expressed the most concern, with respondents expressing decreasing levels of concern in proportion to their belief in human contribution. Regulations were less concerning for those who attributed climate change to human activities than all other causal groups. Attitudes toward both adaptation and mitigation were significantly associated with causal beliefs and concern level about general and specific climate change impacts and age. However, a majority of producers expressed support for adaptation efforts regardless of their causal beliefs. Attitudes toward mitigation were less favorable overall with those who believed human activities were the primary cause of climate change placing a higher priority on mitigation efforts than those who attributed climate change at least partially to natural causes and those who did not acknowledge the reality of climate change. Given generally favorable attitudes toward adaptation, focusing on adaptation messaging may be a way to engage those who would otherwise be disinclined to participate in climate change programming and still achieve increased resilience to projected climate change impacts.
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This survey was supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture, under award numbers 2012-02355 and 2013-69002-23146.
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Campbell, A., Becerra, T.A., Middendorf, G. et al. Climate change beliefs, concerns, and attitudes of beef cattle producers in the Southern Great Plains. Climatic Change 152, 35–46 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-018-2344-6