A recent ad by fast food company Chipotle has Nebraska farmers seeing red. The ad emphasizes Chipotle’s commitment to small and organic farming by emphasizing the role of family farms and criticizing large-scale agribusinesses.
The ad in question, a two-minute short film with no dialogue, traces the development of a small farm into an increasing industrialized agribusiness. The farmer in the ad initially raises a small number of animals, gradually increasing the size of his herds, embracing the use of antibiotics, and accepting reducing living space for animals. The ad ends when the farmer has an epiphany and rejects the use of antibiotics and cages, selling his free-range, organic food to Chipotle.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau recently issued a statement critical of this ad, claiming that it misrepresents the issues facing modern farmers. The bulk of the Farm Bureau’s criticism was their interpretation of the Chipotle ad as rejecting modernity. Return to idyllic, organic agricultural practices, they argued, would not generate enough food to feed the growing global population.
In addition, the Farm Bureau claimed that the ad did not accurately depict the way that farmers treat their animals. According to Rob Robertson, the Chief Administrator of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, “Farmers and ranchers care and have more compassion than anyone for animals. Moving them inside I think you have less death, you have less disease, less bacteria, and a lot more care for the animals.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer