Nebraska Farm Bureau Challenges Chipotle "Scarecrow" Marketing Campaign
LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Farm Bureau is challenging the images and insinuations of a new marketing campaign initiated by Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. which Nebraska Farm Bureau leaders say plays fast and loose with the truth about how food is raised and more importantly, the ethics and morals of the people involved. Members of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Board of Directors recently sent a letter to Chipotle’s Chairman and Co-CEO to express extreme disappointment and concerns about the message the campaign sends to people about American farmers and American agriculture.
“The Scarecrow campaign perpetuates two of the greatest fallacies of modern food production. The first being the myth of the American ‘factory farm’, the second being that people involved in raising food care only about profit and do so at the expense of their animals and our natural resources,” said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson.
The Scarecrow campaign consists of a video and video game that paints a picture of a society where food is raised and manufactured by a faceless corporate food system, using scarecrows as a mindless labor force to cover the harsh treatment of farm animals behind closed doors. Farm Bureau leaders called the campaign “narrow minded in scope” and an “oversimplification of food issues” that go well beyond serving Chipotle customers.
“There are very real issues of hunger, food insecurity and challenges of feeding a growing population. These challenges are reflected in the various methods in which food is raised to ensure there are food choices for people at a variety of price points,” said Nelson. “The Chipotle campaign and video ignores these issues and, in the process, disparages farm and ranch families who care very much about the well-being of their fellow man, the animals in their care and the land and natural resources entrusted to them.”
Despite the displeasure and distaste for the “Scarecrow” campaign, Farm Bureau leaders called on Chipotle to engage in dialogue to discuss broader food issues.
“Chipotle’s motto is ‘Food with Integrity.’ Farm Bureau and its members share in that belief, but it is clear there are differences of opinion in how that is defined. We are open and willing to start a dialogue about what that truly means for all people who remain in need of the crops and livestock Farm Bureau members raise,” said Nelson.