As I watched Taylor Swift tickle the banjo, Chris Brown dance across the stage, and Adele graciously accept her six Grammy awards on Sunday night’s program, I wasn’t expecting to be hit with a political agenda. That’s exactly what happened when Willie Nelson started crooning a sad song to accompany a very demonizing animation of animal agriculture. This is Chipotle’s latest campaign and, although the commercial isn’t new, it certainly garnered a lot of viewership in the evening time slot during the awards show. Now, it’s time for agriculture to balance out the conversation. I’ve rounded up a few items to help us do just that.
First, I think it’s important to encourage consumers to ask real farmers and ranchers where their food comes from. The conversation was heated from both sides on Facebook and Twitter Sunday night, and I think a lot of folks did a great job of keeping the conversation constructive and limiting the back and forth mudslinging that activists seem to enjoy the most.
Second, here are a few links worth passing along to help correct the myths presented by the Chipotle ad:
Check out the American Meat Institute’s research-based perspective on agriculture and the environment.
Another great resource is Dr. Jude Capper, animal scientist at Washington State University, who explains how new research suggests that improved forage quality can increase gains and efficiency, thus reducing the carbon footprint. Earlier research by Capper points to corn-fed beef as being the more sustainable option in beef production as it uses less energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
What did you think of the commercial? How can we counteract emotional commercials like this Chipotle campaign? Agriculture must own this conversation, showing consumers we are sustainably feeding the world, while caring for the environment and the animals.
Finally, I would like to leave you with a few quick facts to use in your Facebook and Twitter messages this week. Courtesy of Explore Beef, did you know?
Today vs. 1977, U.S. agriculture...
- Produces 13% more beef from 13% fewer cattle,
- Which produce 18% less carbon emissions,
- Utilizes 30% less land
- And requires 14% less water.
- What’s more 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.
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