BEEF Daily

Forget Chipotle’s Negativity; Culver’s Champions For Animal Ag

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Instead of being negative about Chipotle, one reader suggests we focus on companies that are positive instead. Culver’s hits the mark with billboards thanking farmers.

The animal agriculture community has been up in arms recently about Chipotle’s latest marketing stunt -- a video series entitled, “Farmed and Dangerous.” The humorous series uses modern animal agriculture as the target, and an exploding cow is the punchline.

Richard Cornett, Western Plant Health Association director of communications, recently wrote an opinion piece for Western Farm Press entitled, “Chipotle Ads Disgraceful To Farmers Everywhere.”

Cornett’s frustrations about Chipotle are shared by many farmers and ranchers, myself included. Here is an excerpt from his piece:

“The most horrifying aspect of Chipotle’s ad campaign is that those people who have little connection to their food and lack knowledge about how it is produced may actually believe these gross misrepresentations. They will never know the pride, skill and countless hours spent by our nation’s agricultural producers in delivering to consumers the highest quality and safest food on the planet.”

 

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Of course, there are differing opinions on this subject. Last week, a reader urged me to take a different perspective regarding Chipotle. Read that letter here.

This week, I received a great suggestion from BEEF Daily reader and California cattleman Jessie Larios. He suggests another tactic in dealing with the naysayers to our industry. He says we should vote with our dollars (and urge consumers to do the same) by supporting companies that are pro-agriculture. Culver’s is a great example of just such a company.

On Facebook, Larios writes, “For too long, the agriculture community has been upset at the ungrateful way Chipotle portrays animal agriculture. This weekend, I drove by a billboard sign that read, ‘Thank you, farmers,’ which was put up by the Culver’s fast food chain. Let’s not play to negativities. Let’s all spread the positive messages Culver’s gives us. For this I say to Culver’s, ‘My pleasure. You are welcome.’”

The Culver's “Thank You, Farmers” campaign isn’t the first time the burger chain has supported the agricultural community. You might recall its campaign to thank farmers last summer. For every thank-you letter sent to one of the beef and dairy producers who help to raise the beef and ice cream Culver’s serves, the restaurant promised $1 to the National FFA organization.

You can read about Culver’s support of FFA here.

I think we need to compile a list of pro-animal agriculture companies, so that we can support those who support us rather than just call out those that foment food fears to pad their bottom line. Help me compile that list. Which companies, celebrities and businesses are pro-ag? List your favorites in the comments section below.

 

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Discuss this Blog Entry 16

Anonymous (not verified)
on Mar 17, 2014

It's great to hear that Culvers supports agriculture, from FFA to agriculture as an industry. We enjoy Culvers in Rapid City and Mitchell fairly often. It is good to know they are not bashing our business, and will mention it when we visit their stores in future.

Now, if we could get 'our own' to stop bashing those of us who are doing a great job of raising crops, whether cattle or grains, 'conventionally'.

There are too many false statements made, even on this site by producers, often against those producing by methods other than theirs.

One in particular re. antibiotics "in beef". It doesn't happen, does it? I have often read that there are NO residues allowed in beef sold to the public. Can anyone cite evidence that is not correct? We have withdrawal times to assure there is no residue of antibiotics, don't we, for the purpose of eliminating antibiotics from the animal.

Another is the tendency to call ionophores antibiotics. Ionophores are fed to cattle to increase the muscle mass as opposed to putting more fat on animals. That is done in response to consumer demands for leaner beef!!!!

Some claim we are using those 'tools' to make animals gain FAT faster......wrong! It is to put on more lean muscle, and less fat.

And one of the worst epithets some use against us (food producers) is criticizing us for using whatever production practice they think of, whether antibiotics or ionophores, or others, to "make more profit". What, specifically is wrong with making a profit? How do they think we stay in business, feed our animals, or our families if we are not making a profit? Do they truly want us to be their slaves? Probably not, as they would have to support us AND our cattle, at least enough to keep us alive. Hmmmm, some years that would be a better living than what we experience as owners of a ranch!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Mar 18, 2014

Very well put, thank you!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Mar 18, 2014

I certainly agree with the intent of your post, there is a place for every type of beef in the industry and producers should not be criticized for striving to make a profit.

However, I do want to make a few clarifications about ionophores. They are antibiotics in the strictest definition; however, they do not target pathogens that cause sickness but alter the microbial population of the rumen. It is unfortunate that they get lumped in with traditional pathogen-fighting antibiotics in the anti-antibiotics discussion, especially since they are not used in human medicine.

Secondly, ionophores do not change the composition of gain. Is it possible you meant to refer to growth promoting technologies such as hormone implants or beta agonists? Both hormone implants and beta agonists increase lean gain.

Ionophores are used to help prevent coccidiosis, regulate feed intake and increase feed efficiency. Consequently, they are a valuable technology in feeding cattle that allows for a reduction in inputs (feed) to achieve the same output (gain).

Anonymous (not verified)
on Mar 18, 2014

How do we contact Culver's to thank them? It would be great if we had a page where farmers could sign in that was referred to in several articles so that we could catch a share of farmers. It would not be everyone, probably only a small group that managed to see the thanks page, but it would be nice to thank them.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Mar 18, 2014

great idea!! thank you for thinking of it

Anonymous (not verified)
on Mar 18, 2014

I have heard of Chipotle. What is Culver's?

Anonymous (not verified)
on Mar 18, 2014

If you have not eaten at Culvers, find one and eat their butter burger. Best burger you can buy that does not have a gourmet price. I will drive out of my way to go to Culvers. Great food at good prices and decent atmosphere. Drive up or sit down, it is a nice place to take your family or enjoy a great mea at a good price. Thanks Culvers for your support and your good food.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Mar 18, 2014

It's a Wisconsin-based burger chain with a strong fan base in the Midwest, but they do have a growing presence in other areas of the country.

anonymous (not verified)
on Mar 18, 2014

I just left a lengthy comment on Chipotle's facebook page, praising Culvers for their support of America's farmers and ranchers. It felt good and it wasn't 10 seconds before I had Chipotle's attention. I got a pleasant, yet terse response about Culvers not knowing about my thank you and the suggestion that I go to their page. My response, in turn, was that this was on Chipotl'es page for a reason..
Thank you Culvers. You get my dining dollars.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Mar 18, 2014

One way to thank them is to support Culvers by spending your dollars there instead of the places that bad mouth the farmers. It would be nice to have a list of restaurants that support AG so we can support them

Anonymous (not verified)
on Mar 18, 2014

May I also suggest a list of restaurants that have had negative ads and/or have donated/ support to organizations to modern agriculture and livestock production. Giving money only to the ones that publicly support agriculture I'm sure is a short list. To me, it's more important to have a list of where to not go. Thanks -

Don Stickle (not verified)
on Mar 18, 2014

Embrace Chipotle's parody for what it is, a parody. They want the industry to raise a big conflict and that way it gets more coverage. Less is more in this instance. They will get less traction if we don't raise a big fuss about it and just have a good laugh. People still have the right to spend where they want to. Hopefully Culvers for beef.

on Mar 18, 2014

Culver's is primarily a regional chain concentrated in the upper MIdwest and Great Lakes regions, although there a few restaurants scattered in other states. There aren't any restaurants near me, so I was unaware of the chain until Amanda brought them to light for their FFA promotion.

If you'd like to contact them, or learn more about their "Thank a Farmer" promotion, go to www.culvers.com.

Burt Rutherford

steven (not verified)
on Mar 18, 2014

I see city transit buses that have paid advertisements on the side of them. It would be interesting if restaurants (or any business for that matter) did that with farmers and ranchers and their cattle trailers. I love Culvers and would gladly put their logo on the side of my trailer (for free) if they furnished the signage.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Mar 19, 2014

I went to the Culver's website listed above. There is a section ... contact us and a general comment area. Please tell them how we appreciate their efforts and recognition of our efforts to give a safe, quality product.

Linda in Illinois (not verified)
on Mar 19, 2014

I like the idea of signage. There's probably a negative, but I can't think of any. How about this? Have Culvers make up some bumper stickers... "Eat at Culvers where we know good beef!" Or diary products... or American favorites.

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BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”

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Amanda Radke

A fifth-generation rancher from Mitchell, SD, Amanda grew up on a purebred Limousin cattle operation in which she and husband Tyler are active. She graduated with a degree in agriculture journalism...

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