Monday, February 24, 2014

The manure is deep in Farmed and Dangerous

BOOM! What was that? BOOM! I can hardly concentrate with all the cow explosions at our farm. I guess we shouldn’t have feed them fuel pellets!

I’m only kidding. Our cows are comfortably chewing their cud and relaxing in the barn as we speak. Why am I talking about exploding cows? Because that’s the basis of Chipotle’s fiction comedy Farmed and Dangerous.

The most recent attempt in this billion-dollar burrito chain’s long mission to bash farm families in an effort to make them seem superior and charge more for their products.

Several farmers shared their thoughts on this silly satire. I pulled a sample from each post, but encourage you to visit their blogs to read what they have to say.

The Bully Holding a Burrito by Emily, Confessions of a Farm Wife
My charge to you, Chipotle executives, is: put down your camera. Put down your dang burrito and come to my farm. Have a steak dinner with us and then head out to do chores. Real chores. Not a farm tour. Wear your grubbiest clothes and help pull a calf. Help unfreeze waterers one day and then wade through muck and flooded roads the next. But stop tearing us down to bring your cause up. Because you just look like a bully to me. A bully holding a burrito.

Kristin Reese

Who doesn’t want healthy safe and humanly cared for foods? I think on this we can all agree. Let’s stop slinging inaccurate information and farmers and Chipotle get down to what we both do best, raise food and make burritos. Whether you choose to eat their burrito or not, let’s not have a food fight! Instead, we should all come together at the table and have a great conversation about food and farming without all of the profit driven “Big Chipotle” smoke and mirrors about the food system. This seems a whole lot more logical and actually productive. Maybe we can even discuss it over an exploding burrito.


Although our fourth generation dairy farm has changed in the technology used and the number of cows being milked has increased, the practices we use are ethically grounded, scientifically verified and economically viable. Like our parents before us, we live and farm with integrity for today and the next generation.

Ryan Goodman

Chipotle continues to win over fans with information and portrayals that are much less than accurate of our modern food growers. If Chipotle is so adamant about getting us to learn more about where our food comes from, why spend millions on animations and comedies? Why not talk to actual farmers and ranchers who are on the ground and know more about growing food that marketing executives?

Part of me feels defensive, but I also try not to take things too seriously. I’m sure some of you may eventually see this show, enjoy it, and laugh. It’s comedy after all. If you do, I hope you’ll read my post too. I’m not thrilled that a food company, while trying to seem ethically minded and concerned about farming practices, is actually making fun of farmers as they pass judgment on modern agriculture. But it got me thinking. I thought about our food system of today, the outcry against it, and began to wonder…  What is it we want to go back to?

The Peterson Farm Bros’ Beef with Chipotle (Part 1) by Greg Peterson
"To be clear, I do agree with the general ideals Chipotle claims they are supporting:
1) The consumer does deserve healthy meat from humanely raised animals. 
2) The family farmer is who should be raising their food. 
3) Ethical behavior should be of greater concern than profit. 
What I don’t agree with is Chipotle’s definitions of family farmers, humanely raised animals, and ethical behavior."
Chipotle Unnecessarily Tears Down Agriculture to Build a Brand by Ted Sheely, Farmer, Truth about Trade & Technology
Ted Sheely
“Farmed and Dangerous” is an expensive scheme to suggest that the act of buying burritos and tacos at Chipotle is morally superior to the act of buying them elsewhere. As a business decision, it may make sense. But let’s not forget what this really is: propaganda. And it is intended to mock and discredit the honest work of farmers like me. That’s rich, coming from a corporation that owns more than 1,500 restaurants and boasts a stock-market value of more than $15 billion. Its shares currently trade at about $550 apiece.

Official Response to Chipotle regarding the "Farmed and Dangerous" series and joint fundraiser on February 20, 2014 by Center for Land-Based Learning  
We are canceling a scheduled fundraising event with Chipotle. The Board unanimously feels that Chipotle's current "Farmed and Dangerous" mini-series crosses the line by fostering animosity toward production agriculture. We disagree with the tone and approach of this new series, which appears designed to divide the agriculture community into big production (inherently malevolent) and small production (inherently virtuous). This is a false choice. Rather than educate the community about where its food comes from, we view the series as pitting some farms against other farms and inaccurately portraying the overwhelming majority of responsible food production operations. The reality is that production agriculture is large and small, organic and conventional, and everything in between.

Farmers Explain Whey They Are Not Farmed and Dangerous 
"Farmed and Dangerous’ is intended to be a comedy, but I think the show is anything but funny,” says Schmidt. “As farmers, we want to open doors to open minds. And CommonGround volunteers like me want to invite consumers to take a peek behind our barn doors and see what really happens on our farms.”   
“‘Farmed and Dangerous’ is intended to be a comedy, but I think the show is anything but funny,” says Schmidt. “As farmers, we want to open doors to open minds. And CommonGround volunteers like me want to invite consumers to take a peek behind our barn doors and see what really happens on our farms.” - See more at: farmers, and many others, believe in transparency. They open their barn doors to show you what's happening on their farms. They are eager to answer questions and share information.  

I believe we all share many of the same values;
- The expectation that food is grown and delivered safely and responsibly. 
- Animals deserve humane care in a safe and comfortable environment. 
- Everyone should have food choices that fit their lifestyle.

My family might make different food choices than yours. My farm might choose to use different management practices than the farm down the road. That's OK. Join me in celebrating and protecting consumer choice and farmers of all types who make those choices possible. 

Before believing Chipotle's rhetoric, check out these non-fiction posts:


  1. Chipotle supports local farmers, something I support as well. You said yourself in another post that there are FEWER dairy farms than a year ago. That means fewer small family farms....fewer local farms. You also said that most milk comes from only 10 states. I, for one, am ecstatic that this information came from a dairy farmer...but that you'd also says it is because of "increased efficiency" stuns me. My guess is you run a very large, lucrative farm.

    1. I’m glad you support farmers, we have that in common. Families, with farms of all sizes, exit the dairy business annually because it’s challenging, costly, risky, and requires long hours. For these reasons, few young people are interested in returning to the farm.

      Why is it stunning that dairy farmers have made improvements and become more efficient? This progress allows us to provide the best care for our land and animals.

      Chipotle uses fear to sell their product. They bash and criticize farmers who don’t follow their so-called “standards”. This company spends millions to damage consumer perception of good, hard-working farmers. The executives at Chipotle are interested in marketing campaigns, selling quick serve Mexican food and profits. Their actions demonstrate they are not interested in supporting farmers.


Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment! I’m opening the doors of our farm to share with you and enjoy engaging in discussion. Please be respectful in your comments. I reserve the right to remove posts that include name calling, slander, and vulgar language or contain links to websites that assault animal agriculture.

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