Public supports climate help for farmers

July 27, 2012 at 5:54 PM

EAST LANSING, Mich., July 27 (UPI) -- The American public strongly supports government programs intended to assist farmers in adapting to climate change, a survey found.

The poll by Michigan State University researchers found more than 65 percent of them support government assistance for farmers, a university release reported.

The survey findings come as this summer's drought wreaks havoc on much of the nation's crops, with close to a third of counties declaring natural disaster areas and seeking federal aid.

The researchers said strong and broad public support for farm assistance in tight economic times surprised them.

"I didn't expect the strong level of public support for helping farmers adjust their production techniques to long-term changes in the climate," MSU professor of agricultural, food and resource economics Stott Loverage said.

"The overall support is likely strongly linked to concerns about recent food price fluctuations, long-term food security or recognition of agriculture's contributions to the economy."

The research based on a survey of 963 randomly selected Michigan residents was conducted by the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at MSU.

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