According to Rabobank’s bi-annual Farm & Ranch Survey, the use of alternative energy sources doubled to 11% since the last survey was released in April.

“By using alternative energy, U.S producers have found that they can reduce their costs while minimizing their impact on the environment,” says Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory Executive Director Michael Whitehead.

Additionally, the survey found 64% of farmers have taken steps toward sustainable agriculture. For example, U.S. producers are using direct seeding (64%), minimizing the use of chemicals (42%), and using water conservation practices (22%).

“Producers are beginning to see sustainability as a core business practice,” says Whitehead.

Moving forward, while producers are taking steps toward sustainability, Congress debates climate legislation, which could bring about additional change.

With that in mind, if climate legislation is passed, 60% of survey respondents (regardless of acreage, revenue and number of employees) said they would alter the steps they are taking toward sustainable agricultural practices.

Methodology
The study was conducted to gauge farmers’ confidence among target farming regions in the U.S. An independent survey company conducted 455 computer-assisted telephone interviews in the first half of August 2009. Farmers who owned or operated a farm grossing $250,000 or more in one of three U.S. census regions – the Midwest, Southern and Western U.S. – were targeted.

Additional information and further survey data from is available at Rabobank America.