An Econometric Evaluation of Producersâ€™ Preferences for Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Modified Food Products
This study uses multivariate statistical procedures to assess producersâ€™ preferences for mandatory labeling of genetically modified (GM) products. The analysis is based on a sample of 1,887 farm producers in ten Southern states of the U.S. who claimed to be â€œsomewhat knowledgeableâ€ about biotechnology. A logistic regression model was employed to isolate characteristics of producers assumed to influence their perceptions of biotechnology and preferences for mandatory labeling. The study highlights a number of important findings with significant implications. It reveals that most producers in the ten states are older (average age is 58 years) and have some college education but remain part-time farmers, dependent largely on off-farm income for their livelihood. The majority raise beef cattle or produce hay and timber. Most producers are in favor of mandatory labeling even though only half of the respondents totally agree with it. They believe biotech will benefit larger farmers, and that farmers will be dependent on large corporations that develop and market biotechnology inputs. The majority are neutral about whether consumers will accept biotech crop products. They also remain undecided about governmentâ€™s ability to properly regulate agricultural biotechnology. Limitations and benefits of biotechnology, education, and enterprise characteristics significantly influence producersâ€™ probability of being in favor of mandatory labeling. Information sources such newspaper, radio, and television; race; age; and whether a county was underserved do not significantly affect producersâ€™ perceptions regarding mandatory labeling of GM food products.
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