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The Ohio State University/Agricultural Risk Analysis Program

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Although public opinion research shows that farmers are held in relatively high regard by the public, many consumers also express concerns about food safety, environmental quality and animal welfare. These and other issues have the public asking for more accountability from agriculturalists. Responding appropriately to their needs will require more than simply disseminating information. To better serve consumers and prevent confusion about complex agricultural issues, researchers and educators need a better understanding of the factors that influence consumers' and farmers' awareness and perceptions of agricultural risks. Identifying these factors through multidisciplinary research and Extension programs is the mission of the newly established Agricultural Risk Analysis Program based in Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The intent of the program is to direct biological and social science expertise directly on agricultural issues of most concern to consumers and farmers. Understanding the science of such problems, as well as public and farmer responses to them, will enable us to develop more effective educational and intervention strategies.