To establish the basis for implementation of a producer education program, a social assessment of the willingness and barriers to adoption of a measure of feed efficiency in beef cattle [residual feed intake (RFI)] was conducted. A 35-question mailed survey was sent to 1,888 producers acquired from the stratified random sample of the Idaho Cattle Association member list (n = 488), Red Angus Association of America member list (n = 2,208), and Red Angus Association of America bull buyer list (n = 5,325). The adjusted response rate for the survey was 49.9%. Of the survey respondents, 58.7% were commercial cow/calf producers and 41.3% were seedstock producers or operated a combination seedstock/commercial operation. Commercial operations had an average of 223 ± 17 cows and 13 ± 3 bulls, whereas seedstock herds (including combination herds) had slightly fewer cows (206 ± 24) and more bulls (23 ± 6). Both commercial and seedstock operators indicated that calving ease/birth weight was the most important trait used to evaluate genetic merit of breeding bulls. Only 3.8 and 4.8% of commercial and seedstock producers indicated that feed efficiency was the most important characteristic used for bull selection. Binary logistic regression models were used to predict willingness of seedstock producers to begin collecting data for the calculation of RFI on their bulls, or to predict willingness of commercial producers to begin selecting bulls based on RFI data. In response, 49.1% of commercial producers and 43.6% of seedstock producers indicated they were willing to adopt RFI as a measure of feed efficiency. These data indicate that feed efficiency was one of the traits that producers consider important; those who perceive feed efficiency as important tended to be actively involved in data collection on their herds, underpinning the notion that objective assessment was valued and used by some. Additional data collection in a future social assessment will continue to elaborate the proportion of producers who perceive feed efficiency as an increasingly important decision and management tool for beef production.