There was no denying that Sunday night, most of America spent the evening watching the Grammys. In fact, the 2012 Grammys went down as the most watched since 1984. But I am not writing to hail the wonder that is Adele or to give a tribute to the late Whitney Houston. No, I am writing in response to Chipotle’s new marketing campaign video, Back to the Start, shown during the Grammys. If you happened to miss it, here it is:
A few months back this video was actually released via the Chipotle website and Facebook, but thanks to it’s showing during the Grammys, Chipotle’s marketing campaign was really brought to the forefront. And since then, it has caused quite an uproar in the Agricultural community. Why you ask?
Well although the video may seem light-hearted and gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling, in all reality, it is bashing modern agriculture and presenting “facts” to consumers that couldn’t be further from the truth. Chipotle is banking on the fact that as a consumer, this video makes you feel warm and fuzzy but also makes you question or criticize modern agriculture, when it is possible you know nothing about it. After all, I’ve read a couple times that something like 2% of our entire population make up farmers and ranchers feeding the rest of the 98% of our population. This statistic tells me that the majority of people out there have never even stepped foot on a farm or a ranch. It also tells me that it is my job being part of the 2% in agriculture to educate the rest of the 98% on what it is that my family does and has done for the past 50 years and that we strive to produce a safe, quality product that you can put on your dinner table and nourish your family. And I guarantee you that all farmers and ranchers share that same goal with me. But rather than sit here and nit pick at Chipotle’s video and criticize it, I am going to take this time to provide you with resources and statements about agriculture that are factual and true, not based upon a light hearted cartoon with a celebrity singing the lyrics.
Fun Meat Fact #1: If you want to know how meat (or food) is produced or where your meat comes from, ask a farmer, rancher, or meat producer DIRECTLY, don’t rely on sources like documentaries such as Food, Inc. or Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. After all, farmers and ranchers are EXPERTS in the field and many have been practicing for generations and if you wanted information, who better to consult than an expert in the field?
Despite what Chipotle’s video may suggest, if you do the research, you will actually find that according to MEAT Myth Crushers, Fun Meat Fact #2: ” Agriculture operations of any size can be managed in environmentally sound ways. But modern operations can benefit from sophisticated environmental controls.” A study conducted on modern beef production found that since 1977 advances in production practices resulted in:
- 13 percent more beef
- with 13 percent fewer animals
- uses 30 percent less land
- and 20 percent less feed
This study conducted also yielded some interesting results versus grass fed and grain fed beef. Please check out the video and site for more information: http://www.meatmythcrushers.com/myths/myth-larger-modern-cattle-operations-today-have-a-greater-negative-environmental-impact-than-small-local-operations.html
But if you do even more research, you will find even more facts about modern agriculture. Explorebeef.org provides us with even more information suggestion that modern agriculture is indeed sustainable. And continues to strive to produce the best possible product they can for their consumers all while using less resources. In addition to the facts concluded by the study above it also finds that:
Today vs. 1977….
- use 14% less water.
- 85% of all land is not suitable for agricultural crops, but can be used to graze livestock.
- A total of 2.8% of all greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to livestock production, compared to 26% from transportation.
So not only are we utilizing fewer resources to produce our beef, but we are also improving efficiency. Fun Meat Fact #3: In 1977, it took five animals to produce the same pounds beef that it takes four animals to produce today. According to an interview conducted by BEEF magazine of Dr. Jude Capper of Washington State University, Dr. Cappers tells us that: “Beef yield over that time has gone up fairly consistently,” she says, noting carcasses can’t keep getting bigger because of consumer acceptance and processing challenges. “What we can do is improve productivity, improve growth rate.”
For more information and to read the interview check out: http://beefmagazine.com/cowcalfweekly/1014-modern-beef-production-green
So all it takes is a little research to find out that what Chipotle is trying to show us in their Back to the Start Video is not actually fact based and also presents a very skewed view of modern Agriculture. Now I would like to leave you with a video that does exactly the opposite. It indeed provides you with FACTS and FIGURES and shows you that indeed the Beef Industry is meeting today’s ever growing demand for beef while using less resources and producing that same quality, healthy, wholesome product.
If you are interested in what some other industry professionals say about the Chipotle ad, check out these reads:
Also for more information about sustainable production of Beef check out these resources:
Happy Friday Everyone! Today, I invite you to seek out a farmer or rancher. Get in contact with them. Ask them what you’ve been meaning to ask about food production. Share this article and the resources listed above. Let’s help to educate that 98% on what the 2% of us do to provide them with food and nourishment for their families and generations to come!