Voters want policy that supports agricultural biotech innovation, Morning Consult poll shows

poll agricultural biotech

Voters hold a favorable opinion of biotechnology and support streamlined government regulatory processes to allow faster approval of biotech innovations in agriculture, according to a Morning Consult poll conducted for the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and published Aug. 3.

Focused on “Views of Agricultural Biotechnology,” the poll showed that most voters are aware of the benefits that biotech offers to agriculture, and they favor its positive impact on food supply and sustainability. 

Morning Consult surveyed 1,991 registered voters between July 21-23 for the poll.

With 62% of voters surveyed espousing favorable views of biotech in general, an even higher number, 67%, said they support “government policies that seek to address the country’s challenges (i.e. food insecurity, climate change) through innovation in biotechnology.”

Respondents also want this innovation to be available faster, with 66% saying the government’s regulatory approval process should be updated to allow agricultural biotechnology companies to bring innovative products to market more quickly, the poll showed.

“Voters are eager to leverage cutting-edge biotechnology solutions to address some of the world’s biggest challenges. These survey findings should signal to policymakers the importance of advancing regulatory clarity to help bring biotechnology products to market,” said BIO Vice President for Agriculture & Environment Beth Ellikidis.

Where biotech help is wanted

Asked to rank the most important benefits of agricultural and industrial biotechnology, voters said:

  • increasing crop yields to produce more food per acre of land (84%);
  • feeding more people using fewer natural resources and less fuel (83%);
  • producing crops that need less water and can withstand drought (83%);
  • breeding healthier animals that are resistant to viruses and diseases (83%);
  • and producing food crops with built-in protection from pests and diseases (82%).

Other benefits favored include growing the U.S. economy (80%), absorbing carbon dioxide in the soil to reduce greenhouse gases (79%), reducing food waste (79%); producing foods with medicinal properties (79%), developing sustainable aviation fuels and other renewable fuels (78%), providing other plant-based industrial materials (77%); increasing food’s nutritional value (75%), and providing plant-based protein options (66%).

Along with boosting crop output, biotech in agriculture is already addressing many societal challenges, including reducing carbon emissions in agriculture and manufacturing, capturing carbon, producing vaccines against animal viruses that might threaten humans, breeding livestock genetically engineered for resistance to diseases, addressing food allergies, making air travel more sustainable through production of sustainable aviation fuel, strengthening food security, and reducing food waste.

“We are witnessing the beginnings of a biotech revolution, and it’s critical that public policy keep up and help, not hinder, bringing these exciting developments to market to make our world more secure and sustainable, as consumers want,” said Ellikidis, noting that voters agree.

“There is a desperate need for the holistic approach outlined in the Biden administration’s ‘Bold Goals for U.S. Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing’ to harness biotechnology in achieving societal goals — such as furthering agricultural innovation, creating food supply resilience, and developing climate change solutions,” she said.

Read BIO’s press release on the poll.

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