MINNEAPOLIS — A recent report by Cargill showed that young people around the world want to connect with farm life.

In its latest Feed4Thought survey, Cargill found that twice as many young respondents ages 18 to 34 in the US and China reported knowing a livestock or seafood farmer compared to those over 55 – with similar trends in Mexico and France.

The survey also found that 81 percent of 18-to-34-year-old Chinese participants visited a livestock or seafood farm during their lifetime, compared to 50 percent of their older surveyors.

"We know people increasingly care about animal welfare, the healthfulness of foods and sustainability," said Marina Crocker, head of Cargill Animal Nutrition market insights. "By pairing Cargill's understanding of what our customers need with state-of-the-art analytics about what people want, we can anticipate and serve emerging consumer expectations in the solutions we provide our customers."

Fifty-two percent of younger participants also said they changed their eating habits for sustainability reasons in the past year compared to 19 percent for older US respondents. Eighty percent of young Chinese people surveyed reported changes in their eating habits as well.

More than 80 percent of total survey respondents said the way an animal is raised is important. Almost half of the respondents would also pay more as a result of different animal welfare practices. Chinese survey participants were the most open to paying a premium price at 59 percent while Americans were at 31 percent. 

The data showed that US and Chinese young people were both more willing than their grandparents to pay for this type of practice.

Cargill also mentioned the rise in technology including blockchain as a focus for consumers and producers to gain more information about the farm process.

"The digital revolution has arrived in agriculture," said Scott Ainslie, vice president and group director for Cargill's animal nutrition premix business. "This will offer our customers a completely different way of making decisions and marketing their products. For example, they could use real-time data collected from on-farm sensors to inform nutritional programs, detect heat in dairy cows or determine the best harvest date for pigs and broilers. All this improves the health, well-being and productivity of their animals.”