Self-Perceptions and Self-Assessments of Livestock Producers in Pennsylvania

P. A. Nordstrom, L. L. Wilson, M. J. Richards, T. W. Kelsey, C. W. Pitts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A study was conducted 1) to identify the concerns that producers believe the public has regarding animal agriculture, 2) to provide a self-assessment by producers of their industries, and 3) to identify issues producers feel the public may misunderstand and which can be alleviated through public education. Surveys were mailed to Pennsylvania producers of five animal industries: beef, dairy, swine, poultry, and veal. The response rate received was 18 to 22%, depending on the industry (n = 540). The two most frequent complaints received by the producers from the public were odor and flies, respectively. Self-assessments indicated that the highest-ranked concern of producers was harmful chemicals in the food supply; food storage and use of too many inputs were of least concern. Issues identified by producers as frequently being misunderstood by the public and in need of the most public education were water quality, food safety, air quality, farm animal welfare, soil quality, use of resources, and recycling of by-products, respectively. This survey demonstrated that a majority of livestock producers (63.2%) maintains that the care they currently provide to their animals has improved over the past 10 yr; however, only 26.3% of the producers believe that the public feels that the quality of animal care has improved. This discrepancy may be a result of an increasing absence of filial ties to production agriculture and the tendency of the public to rely on non-farm sources of information about farming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-163
Number of pages8
JournalProfessional Animal Scientist
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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