Many in agriculture are expressing frustration with marketing/advertising campaigns that attempt to portray modern agriculture as cold, cruel, and, in some cases, downright evil. They believe that those campaigns, such as those put together by Chipotle and Panera, paint a misleading and distorted picture of food production in the U.S.
Chipotle’s “anti-factory farming” campaign has been especially vitriolic. The fast food company has produced several controversial videos critical of modern agriculture and recently intensified its attack by launching a four-episode comedy show entitled “Farmed and Dangerous”, which airs on the streaming-TV service Hulu. Among other things, the show features exploding cows and eight-winged chickens.
At the Nebraska Governor’s Ag Conference in Kearney, we discussed the Chipotle and Panera campaigns with Kay Johnson-Smith, president and CEO of the Animal Agriculture Alliance. Johnson-Smith says that while Panera’s response to the alliance’s expressions of concern has been positive, Chipotle’s has not.