MINNEAPOLIS – Cargill released the results of its latest Feed4Thought survey regarding sustainable farming and animal welfare. The Minneapolis-based company found that 85 percent of people surveyed said technology in agriculture would feed a growing population.

However, around half of the people want food from technology-based farms compared to traditional ones.

The 3,000 respondents to the survey said most want to see technology used in the medical and educational industries. Farming ended up third ahead of 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,” said 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. 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.”

Cargill also showed the results of the survey by country. South Korean respondents were the most accepting of high-tech farming with 70 percent positive on the source of food and 95 percent positive on making farming more sustainable. Only 37 percent of respondents in France said they wanted food to come from a technologically advanced farm. Both French and American survey respondents said that farmers should benefit most from ag-tech improvement where South Korea said consumers should benefit.

The survey revealed that some technologies are more accepted than others by consumers. Forty-two percent of survey takers said they would welcome the use of sensors on the farms that grow their food and 35 percent would be okay with artificial intelligence. Devices that affix to an animal, for example ‘Fitbits for cows’ or robotic milkers were acceptable to 29 percent of people. When it came to breeding animals based on genetic markers for desirable traits, 25 percent responded favorably. Finally, 18 percent of people would embrace feed containing genetically modified ingredients.

Cargill said younger French and American survey respondents (age 18-34) were slightly more likely to accept genetically modified feed than people over 55.