Grazing the Net
Greg Henderson and Friends
Our editors spend some time roaming the web looking for stuff cattle people and others in agriculture might find useful or entertaining.
Marketing With Integrity?
Feb 10, 2014
Americans love a success story, and Steve Ells' story is one of the best. He's founder of Chipotle Mexican Grill, which now boasts annual revenue of $2.7 billion from 1,539 locations that employ 37,000 people. Chipotle promises "Food With Integrity," and the company's marketing campaigns have helped transform the eating of a burrito into and environmentally and socially conscious decision – or so its patrons believe. Ells' latest campaign to sell burritos is a pledge to "remove the GMOs from our food to the fullest extent possible."
He explains that decision in a column posted on The Huffington Post's site "Food For Thought," which is sponsored by Chipotle. Those explanations are heavy on opinion and misinformation and light on science – as one might expect from an art-history-major-turned-restaurant-entrepreneur. But the Huffington Post offers a counter-point from Dr. Robert T. Fraley, Monsanto's chief technology officer, who is not short on the science stuff. Food With Integrity, Chipotle? Why won't you implement Marketing With Integrity?
Farming Gets No Respect
Rodney Dangerfield said he was "so ugly my mother used to feed me with a sling shot." That's about how much respect agriculture gets these days, but one farmer is trying to change the dialog. Missouri Farm Bureau president Blake Hurst argues farmers deserve more respect for utilizing technology to grow safe, nutritious and sustainable food. Hurst's column was published Saturday as an installment in The Kansas City Star's Midwest Voices series, which allows guest writers to explore various topics of interest. We were pleased the Star offered Hurst the opportunity this year since they've frequently published views in opposition to agriculture since Midwest Voices was launched in 2003. Of those opposed to modern ag, Hurst says, "Our critics are convinced that technology applied to personal communications devices and medicine is a net good, but science applied to growing things is freakish, unnatural and dangerous."
California Drought Continues
Ninety percent of California is experiencing a severe drought, and the state's cattle producers are in crisis mode. California is America's largest agricultural producer and the drought will have an impact on grocery prices nationwide. But California is also home to 2% of America's cattle herd and ranchers are downsizing in an attempt to survive. That's bad news for an industry hoping 2014 will see an overall herd expansion. The state could suffer as much as $5 billion in drought- related revenue losses from farming and related businesses. The cattle industry is the fifth-largest in California agriculture with $3.3 billion of revenue in 2012.
Massive Meat Recall
USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service recalled nearly 9 million pounds of meat from a Northern California company over the weekend, saying the meat came from "diseased and unsound" animals that weren't properly inspected. According to FSIS, the products were processed by Rancho Feeding Corporation and because of the lack of inspection the products are "adulterated, because they are unsound, unwholesome or otherwise are unfit for human food and must be removed from commerce." FSIS noted there are no reported illnesses tied to these products, which went to distribution centers and retail establishments in California, Florida, Illinois and Texas.