6 Things Chipotle Doesn’t Want You To Know

As a woman who grew up on a crop and hog farm, and as a woman who will be joining another crop and hog farm I consider myself to be a pretty lucky girl.  I consider myself lucky because I know the truths about today’s farmers and the awesome job they are doing to provide quality products for our stomachs.  When my crops and hogs get attacked, it gets personal.  It get personal because I know what’s really going on because I’ve lived it for 20 years.  It gets personal because it’s attacking my families’ way of life.

The Chipotle series called Farmed and Dangerous that’s coming out on Hulu is crap.  There, I flat out said it.  They are using humor, and scary marketing ploys to scare consumers into buying organic and antibiotic free food.  They are creating fear in food, not farmers.  My family has been treating their hogs with antibiotics for years, and none of us has ever gotten sick from consuming our products.  We consume the pork we grow, so it’s in our best interest to use the best practices in our operation to get the best products on the market possible.  With that, here are 6 things Chipotle doesn’t want you to know.

What Chipotle doesn’t want you to know;

1. 96% of farms are family farms according to the USDA. Look at these awesome farm families that are working hard to put that food on your plate today! http://www.farmersfeedus.org/

2. Antibiotics that are used in livestock production are out of the animals system before entering the market.  Farmers have to follow strict regulations of withdrawal periods before sending their livestock to market. (Meaning, the antibiotics must have completely left the animals system) Awesome place here for more information http://www.meatami.com/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/82080.

3. Organic producers still use certified chemicals on their crops, they are just derived from a natural source rather than a synthetic source. Don’t believe this? Check it out from the EPA here. http://www.epa.gov/oecaagct/torg.html

4. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) go through several tests and approximately 13 years of approvals before entering the market.  The government also regulates this. Want to know more about GMO’s? Check out this great source. http://findourcommonground.com/food-facts/gmo-foods/

5. GMO’s allow farmers to use less chemicals on their land, not more. (Ask a farmer, he/she’ll tell you!) Here’s another great source for your GMO questions. http://gmoanswers.com/

6. Pork and poultry are not treated with hormones, because it’s been tested to see there is no added benefit.  Look at this great site to explain more on hormone use! http://findourcommonground.com/food-facts/hormones-in-milk/

We as farmers have nothing to hide.  We don’t have any secret laboratories or facilities where we are concocting a new way to make money.  In fact, I bet most farmers would be glad to have you out to their farm to talk about how they are growing the corn that is going into your corn flakes, or the beef that makes your juicy hamburgers, or how about the soybeans that are put into your Hershey’s chocolate? (Soy lecithin, an oil coming from soybeans to make your chocolate creamy and smooth)

Our farms are not top secret or restricted.  We’re not hiding anything behind our barn doors.  Come take a peek as to what’s really going on, and I promise it isn’t anything close to what Chipotle is insinuating.

Chipotle, I’m disappointed that you had to go so low as to put down a farmers way of life and use scare tactics in order for you to make more money.  Is it getting too expensive for you to provide only organic, hormone and antibiotic free products for your customers that you’re begging for more business in the wrong way?

Love to all-Nicole

77 thoughts on “6 Things Chipotle Doesn’t Want You To Know

  1. I enjoyed your article!! Great points made! Great question to choppers! I watched to preview on YouTube I questioned chipotle about it, their response was it is a comedy. Yes a comedy going to people who really have no clue where there food comes from and SOME of those people believe what they see, because of their disconnect from the farm.
    Passing your blog on!!

    1. That concerns me they are deeming it a comedy. Most people won’t get the humor and just assume the worst. Great post– very informative!

    2. Chipotle seems to forget how they made millions in their start up years from the same meat sources that they are not criticizing. If they were not able to purchase low cost meat products initially, we would have never heard of them or their calorie loaded products that are contributing to an obese society.

  2. Thank you! Well said! I am so tired of hearing negative things about farming.. and people believe it! That’s the scary part!

  3. 13 years of GMO testing sure won’t be great when we have been consuming them for 20+ years and all have gastrointestinal issues, also, pigs that require lots of antibiotics because they live in too close of quarters and spread disease like wildfire sure aren’t as healthy as those kept free range and out of a pin where they poop and sleep simultaneously. Furthermore, organic fertilizers used in organic farming are just that, healthy organic nitrogen rich products, there is no detriments to them. They differ from synthetics significantly. Props to chipotle for spending more money to do things in a manor that is healthy, they give a standard for farming to transition to. Money is in the politics of change leading to a healthier based food chain, and chipotle has dug into their own pockets to set an example.

    1. Hi Nicole, thanks for reading and I appreciate your comment. However, the antibiotics that we treat our pigs with are only used if absolutely necessary. Actually, one of the pig diseases that is going around at this point in time is spread through manure, and with our hog barn the manure falls through the slats. The slats are only large enough for pig urine and manure to slide through. The manure falls into a pit, therefore eliminating the manure problem for the pigs. Also, pigs are creature of habit. I used to raise pigs in a barn that allowed for free range to an extent, they always pooped in the same corner of the barn and always avoided that corner when they were ready for their naps. I appreciate your concern and I would love to have you out to my farm sometime! Thanks again for stopping by!

    2. You’re quite ignorant Nicole, nitrogen rich sounds nice, though that is what plants cannot rely on alone. chemically there is 0.0 difference between the nitrogen in manure. 28-0-0 (N-P-K) etc. Nitrogen is Nitrogen. The 28 we put on our crop is pure nitrogen, nothing else, mixed with water. I dont know how to get this through your thick skull that elements are elements. Manure runs the risk of e coli and any other possible zoonosis, whether that cow is raised organically or not. Dont think an organic cow is any safer. If it has a bacterial infection in its udder antibiotics im sure cannot be used on an organic farm, right? So that milk has to be throw away, the cow is just left alone I’m assuming and if it heals itself (haha) it can be put back to production or the cow is put down. Also, she is implying there are 13 years of research and testing BEFORE a gmo is released. Dont ever assume a gmo was just blindly placed onto the market 20+ years ago then 13 years ago we were like, “hey, we should look into what we made 10 years ago.” There was extensive testing and approval required before the first gmo was ever released. Chipotle is using scare tactics and dragging a cornerstone of america through the mud to sell burritos and pad their pockets. Considering your understanding of what we put on plants is limited to fertilizers, (which by the way is mostly dry chemically pure elements) You have no idea of the pesticides that were used in the good old days (the 40’s, 50’s etc) when the world population wasn’t near what it was today) and the safer, easier pesticides that we dont have to apply nearly as much today as in the past. (think carbon footprint reduction) Glyphosphate (round up) is a spray that will kill pretty much any plant it touches, it’s neutral once it touches dirt, and is by far one of the safest herbicides ever developed. It is the reason we use GMO’s. the plants we grow have had a gene bred into them, in a lab, that makes them resistant to round up, so just the weeds die.

      1. Actually, GMO’s are designed to be resistant to herbicides. That dosent mean they use less herbicide in order to reduce carbon footprint. What it means is that they can spray more of it on the plants to control pests, which is worse for the environment. If GMO’s are safe why have so many countries banned food imported from the US? Don’t believe everything the media tells you, roundup is extremely harmful not only to the environment, but also to humans, and other living creatures including but not limited to monarch butterflies, and honey bees which are absolutely vital to the survival of the human race.

      2. Erica, actually you are very wrong. A GMO can make them resistant to a herbicide as I mentioned earlier with roundup soybeans. However, it makes it resistant to a glyphosphate which is in a chemical called roundup which does not allow plants to continue to make essential amino acids. the roundup allows for a farmer to spray the field 1 time instead of 2 or 3 (to cover the different types of weeds that a single chemical can generally not kill), so YES it does reduce the number chemicals needed. Another one is BT corn which protects the corn plant from the corn bore. Using BT corn actually allows a farmer to not use a pesticide for the corn bore, so again it reduces the number of chemicals needed. I could go on and on but I think you get the gist.

        You said, don’t believe everything that the media tells you. I would suggest you do the same. I would also suggest talking to farmers and experts in the field of GMOs and agriculture in general to get the truth.

      3. If anyone is curious what requirements the fda has put into place and what the testing is like, you should read the nonfiction book First Fruit.

  4. Thanks for sharing that Nicole Dawson, saved me some time posting a reply. I’d just like to add that the GMO safety issue is a joke. How many things have been claimed as safe for years then later pulled because it was found out it was not. (after a lot of money was made off the product) I don’t think it’s really that hard to understand why GMOs would be a health concern to many, so it really boils down to someone’s idea of safe. I’d prefer to go by my own standards, not by a system that profits off of telling me they and has a serious conflict of interest between the two parties stating it as so. (Monsanto and the FDA) I’d like to thank to Chipotle for having higher standers, they have a lot of consumers supporting them and that’s what matters the most, consumers!

    1. Kim, thanks for reading and submitting your comments. I appreciate your point of view and it seems to me that you have your mind made up for what you’d like to consume. That’s what’s great about the country we live in, we have choices. Thanks again for reading!

    2. Kim ward, I find it quite difficult to understand why GMO’s are a health concern to many. They are plants with genetics from another plant that has the desired traits farmers are looking for in their crops. It’s cross breeding/pollination in a lab. The real danger to society is misinformation and fear spread by nuts whom are reversing the leaps and bounds made by science over the past few decades. You’re all like a religion-Science adjusts its views based on what’s observed. Faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved.

    3. Kim,

      What someone chooses to consume is their choice and that is fine. However, it is not right to bash the other option, especially with a lack of facts. I would also like to comment on Chipotle having higher standards than most. That is simply not true. In an annual financial report (I believe it was 2009 but the year escapes me) Chipotle stated that they could not afford to meet the purchasing price of the “organic” farmer and were “forced” to buy product from the conventional system for their stores. They are still more concerned about the money than anything else even their “high standards”.

      As for GMO’s I do not understand why it is a safety issue? Let’s take corn and soybeans as an example. A GMO is generally a simple change is the gene code by deletion or insertion. For example the roundup soybean simply has changed the way a single gene is expressed which allows it to continue to synthesize amino acids when in the present of a glyphosphate. Most plants will quit producing those essential amino acids and die. This allows farmers to use fewer chemicals to produce the soybeans. Another example would simply be hybrid corn. When two lines of parent corn are crossed the genes combine to create heterosis which allow for higher yields. Now the genes of the hybrid corn have been modified by natural mating two types of corn? Is that wrong, it is simple biology. It’s the same thing with the soybean. A line was created with the glyphosphate blocking gene and produced by simply raising the crop. Why is that wrong?

      If scientist said that by simply deleting a gene in everyone’s genome they could cure cancer would you be opposed to that because it is genetically modifying something?

      1. I welcome Kim and Nicole to come to MN and help me walk 4500 Acresin other words 4500 football fields, oh, and bring their HOE, you may need 2, (you know a stick with a slanted shovel on the end), and lots of jugs of water because we are out in the middle of no where, oh and toilet paper because their is no bathroom. We start at 5 am and quit at 10 pm. And when we are done, we have to rewalk again to pull the weeds we missed, a few months later;. and pick rocks too…we walk it all, its a great weight loss program. I think I should almost start charging for the weight loss and you get a free tan.

        Seriously, I grew up walking beans and corn. I went through the NON GMO days where we had to walk fields, made little money, and had to Refinance our family farm in the 80’s so we could keep going. we just paid off our debt this year. Its not fun. I scouted corn with corn borers, wire worms, NASTY bugs, so if you would like them in your corn based breakfast cereal, I can do that for you Ladies! Feces included:)

        Seriously the next time you open a can of corn, sweet corn i mean, which is different than the STARCH corn we grow. Be thankful you don’t see those nasty worms in there. Today, we can produce more corn, clean corn, no feces corn, no wormed corn with GMO corn. We only spray 2 oz, yes 2 oz, on a football field size, so it is mostly WATER that comes out, and when we spray we have a harvest interval, so we cannot spray so many days before harvest. We spray less BECAUSE Science has helped us lesson this amount. We don’t spray corn anymore for worms! its called Bt Corn.

        I wish everyone of you that BASH intelligent farmers (like alot of us on here are)…could visit us face to face. Come on out and Walk a field, and see we how many billions of bushels the US produces to feed our nation and other nations that are starving..then perhaps you would shut up.

        Yes, the offer still stands to come out and walk fields with me…I do it every summer, just for the exercise. Because Farmers know how to work. And NO i will not eat at Chip o LIE. You would have to walk even more fields to work off that burrito.

  5. I am an urban consumer and I am so glad to see farmers speaking out against the nonsense that Chipotle is peddling.

    I will never eat at one of their stores. I will do without until I seen another place. I have told the company this. They are throwing the farmer under the train in order to push their own product.

    1. Thanks for reading both sides of the story. I assure you that farmers appreciate your support, whether you eat organic or conventional, it is all about supporting the farmer and leaving negative bashing of farming practices out of it! Misleading, negative, advertising never helps anyone!

  6. I completely agree with this blog I don’t live on a farm but I would if I had the chance I live in a tiny farm town in Texas and I’m extremely involved in my schools FFA and I love it I’ve shown animals since I was a freshman (now a Sr) and it’s a great learning experience so I don’t want people like Chipotle to take those opportunities away from future generations plus all around me in my little town is farms so if they took that away they take away a persons lively hood and use it to servive. Not everybody can live nice like those city people.

    1. I too am from the city, but am heavily involved in agriculture. Usually the Universities, if anything, allow tours/visitors on farms! Might be something to look into!

  7. Nicole, I would like to hear more about how you treat your hogs. You said you “used to raise pigs in a barn that allowed for free range to an extent”. Now the pigs live on grates, which to me, sounds like they are not spending time outside engaging in natural behaviors. Do you use gestation crates or other forms of tight enclosures? I hope I am misunderstanding what you wrote to a previous commenter, because it comes across as though your hog farm is a shining example of the horrible lives farm animals suffer.

    You claim to be a religious woman, a lover of the good that is God, yet you enslave innocent lives, forcibly impregnate them only to steal their babies, and eventually sell them to murderers. Do you realize that animals feel pain, fear, boredom, depression, happiness, loss, and love? Do you realize that to deny this is no different than to exploit and dehumanize people who may be different than you in some way, be it race, gender, personal beliefs, or otherwise? Life is life, Nicole. All forms of it. You are the worst kind of sinner, because you use the innocent and helpless for personal profit. I come from a family of hog farmers, too–it’s never too late to right a wrong. When you encounter opposition, it is either because you are very wrong or very right. Are you able to gaze into your animals’ eyes and honestly say you are right?

    I hope that you may someday become the Godly woman you wish to be, but I am unable to support the choices you are making at this time.

    1. Nicole shares a good point in this blog. Chipotle is attacking a crowd that is feeding our ever-growing population. In fact, a single farmer today feeds, on average, 155 people. Being from a family-owned farm myself, I can assure that unethical practices are not present. “Free range to an extent” is the most appropriate and ethical way to allow a hog (or other livestock) to live. Think about it, if we were like hogs–unable to make our own decisions, execute our own actions, etc.–we would be stuck in the confinement of our own homes too. If it wasn’t to “an extent” and the hogs could just roam completely free, a farmer might wake up in the morning and his/her hogs would be nowhere to be found. You might be thinking, “Yeah, I would run away too,” but that’s not it. Despite animals’ abilities to feel pain, fear, boredom, depressions, happiness, loss, and love, they do not have the God-given abilities that humans do to stay in their “homes.” Therefore, there must be some “extent” as to how far they roam.

      Another point, farmers are not murderers. What discretion claims that? You seem to pronounce yourself as a Christian, seeing that you attacked Nicole for not being a “Godly woman.” So as a Christian, you should know that in the Bible, God explains to Noah His covenant between God and man (as in human). In Genesis 9:3 it says, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” God’s law and covenant is above any Chipotle supporter’s opinions on “murdering” animals. He blatantly says in Genesis that EVERY MOVING THING is food to us. Therefore, as humans, we are not murderers by any means. In fact, we are obeying God’s command. If we were to eliminate the use of GMO’s and become completely organic, we would not be able to sustain our estimated population of 9 billion people in 2050. Wouldn’t this almost be equivalent to intentionally starving or “murdering” the human race?

      I do not support your crude judgement toward Nicole. We, as Christians, have no place to judge. When Judgement Day comes, the Lord will judge all. You have no reason to. Again in the Bible, Romans 2:1, it says, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” We do practice the same thing–sin. Regardless of what way it is, we all are sinners. Nicole is a very Godly woman, and as a farmer, she is fulfilling God’s commands to provide food for His people, so that by 2050 we can sustain a population of 9 billion people.

      1. If we did not use gmos we would not be able to sustain our population? The use of food made in a laboratory is decidedly harmful, and if people would realize that these gmos were being pumped into everything they ate maybe this nation would wake up & realize it’s time to go back to the earth & use sustainable practices for ourselves & for the health of our families. You are absolutely right when you say that we could not sustain the population without the use of gmos, however without corn in every single pre made item on our supermarket shelves we wouldn’t need to. People need to stop being lazy, running to the supermarket for their pre made dinners and learn how to cook something for themselves. The amount of preservatives contained in any number of these pre made entrees is astounding & terribly unhealthy. I assume that by saying gmos are ok to use, you also agree that these preservatives are also healthy, and that McDonalds is acceptable food for the children of our nation.

    2. Heather Bok, will you share how you “righted a wrong?” You state that you “come from a family of hog farmers, too – it is never to late to right a wrong”. I’m curious if you or any of your family members currently raise hogs, and, if so, how do you do it? I don’t want to misinterpret your comment.
      Also, I am compelled to comment on the seemingly intentional use of hurtful words: “enslaving innocent lives…” and “worst kind of sinner”. I am hurt and offended by those words, and they aren’t even directed at me! I can’t imagine how hurtful it is for Nicole to read those words. Perhaps you have a personal relationship with Nicole or perhaps you have some basis for those comments other than your interpretation of her blog post, but I ask you to put yourself in her shoes – how would you feel if someone wrote those words to you? I believe we are each entitled to our own opinions, and I hope that we can share them respectfully.

      1. Kristie, thank you so much for your support! I appreciate your words of kindness and encouragement. I’m not looking to put anyone down or put any sort of agriculture down. I’m just on a mission to make sure we’re all educated so we can make informed decisions based on facts rather than emotions. Again, thank you for your support and kindness.

    3. Heather, I am also a farmer who raises pigs the way Nicole does. With wall due respect, it is precisely because we care for our animals that we raise them the way we do. And to question someones “Godliness” is also unwarranted. I am very active in my church. You are entitled to your opinion and values, as are we. We believe that God allows us to eat animals for our own use. It is the our interpretation of the Bible.

    4. Heather, I am not speaking for Nicole, but as a Christian there is nowhere in the bible that equates an animal’s existence to that of a human being. In Genesis God puts Adam over every animal as their master, not their equal. To say that Nicole or any other farmer that raises pigs in a confinement barn is not a Christian is absurd. Also, you speak of dehumanizing the animals similar to race, gender, and sexual orientation for example, but animals are not humans. We can not dehumanize them because they are not humans. As someone who has pasture raised pigs and been involved with the animals in confinement systems I can say there are pros and cons to both. Have you ever tried to farrow a sow (or keep pigs healthy) outside when it is -20 outside and there is 5 feet of snow (the current weather we have today)? The barns are actually good for the animal’s well being, it just may not appear that way to those that do not understand pig production.

      I think we need to be careful before we call someone out on their spiritual beliefs when it is something that is not a foundation of the Christian faith.

    5. Heather, I am not speaking for Nicole, but as a Christian there is nowhere in the bible that equates an animal’s existence to that of a human being. In Genesis God puts Adam over every animal as their master, not their equal. To say that Nicole or any other farmer that raises pigs in a confinement barn is not a Christian is absurd. Also, you speak of dehumanizing the animals similar to race, gender, and sexual orientation for example, but animals are not humans. We can not dehumanize them because they are not humans. As someone who has pasture raised pigs and been involved with the animals in confinement systems I can say there are pros and cons to both. Have you ever tried to farrow a sow (or keep pigs healthy) outside when it is -20 outside and there is 5 feet of snow (the current weather we have today)? The barns are actually good for the animal’s well being, it just may not appear that way to those that do not understand pig production.

      I think we need to be careful before we call someone out on their spiritual beliefs when it is something that is not a foundation of the Christian faith.

    6. Heather, I am not a hog farmer, but we raise turkeys, and in my experience, farmers know best what their animals are feeling. Farmers are in tune with their animals’ needs and generations of experience, combined with science and technology, have led us to the practices we use now.

      I’m absolutely certain that the way Nicole raises her animals is not sinful. And shame on you for suggesting such.
      John 8:7 “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

    7. Heather, I raise cows for meat. Yep, I can and do look into their eyes. I wean them from their moms at 6-7 months of age and they bellow for about two – three days. They then enjoy life without mom. Not too unlike dropping your kid off at college… hurts real bad for a few days but it sure is a lot better for the kids. My cows are awesome animals. They are a joy to be around. It is a somber day when they go to market. What you choose to eat is just that, a choice. I justify my choice by being as productive as I can while, bringing the kingdom of heaven here on earth. It is there where judgement will be pronounced by the Creator, who may not agree with you?

  8. How can you support GMO’s? they have been proven several times in independent studies that they are harmful. For Example-Genes inserted into GM soy, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and that the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.

    Numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise.

    The government says its safe?? possibly because quite a few board members of Monsanto are working in high positions in the FDA. kind of like cannabis being banned because members of congress had other interest such as cotton, even though now its proven safe.

    1. Oh my gosh, if genes from gm soy can cross into bacteria, genes from regular soy can also cross. Same dna structure and all! My god, everyone avoid soy products? Holy cow, why does no one concern themselves with the feelings of the plants getting raped by bees, and slaughtered en masse in the fall? The truly enlightened should stop eating altogether out of thoughtfulness for the living animals and crops!

    2. Colorado Organic, I am a corn and soybean farmer in Minnesota. Here is a guest blog post I wrote on why I’m pro-GMO: http://www.mnfarmliving.com/2014/01/why_pro-gmo.html
      Here’s a paper on 10 years of research (2003-2013) on GMOS: http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Nicolia-20131.pdf This paper presents both positives and negatives regarding the studies themselves. I like it because it is written without bias.

  9. I like reading the hysterical comments left by folks who are fashionably “anti-GMO”, or for “animal-rights”. Seems all they have is some argument about the FDA and Monsanto being in cahoots, working together to screw the leftist hippies over.

  10. Thank you for your easy- to- read, informative, and intelligent reply to Chipotle. I am sorry you are getting such negative feedback. Did they actually read your links? As farmers we have lots of choices, and everyone makes the best choices for their family and their farm. Keep up the positive writing!

  11. While I don’t really give a crap about anything chipotle says, much of this article is very misleading, and some is not true.
    Let’s start with the farms.
    It’s actually more like 97% family farms…BUT the 2% that are corporate make up 14% of the food and the largest 2% of all types of farms make up 50%
    GMOs go through testing and have a waiting period. This doesn’t mean they are safe and there are many possible downsides. Now let’s look at the “roundup” resistant crops. Some of these seeds come coated in herbicide. Roundup active ingredient is being found in food and it can’t be washed off. It’s part of the food. You can eat it if you want but I will pass.
    Furthermore no one wants to label GMOs if there isn’t anything wrong with them why can’t they be
    labeled? People who don’t want to eat them should at least have the ability to tell the difference. The safety issue remains to be seen.
    Hormones and antibiotics are still found in meat in residual amounts and are thus passed to humans.
    And of course organic still use pesticides and herbicides. And while natural I am not sure they are all that much better some of the time….that is hopefully still a work in progress.
    I don’t have much faith in the FDA to protect me. They want to allow sweeteners in milk with out it being labeled and just approved chicken to be shipped to China and processed to be shipped back here for consumption with no warnings necessary. There has been too much crap come out of china with no oversight.
    And while you may not have any laboratories I can assure you Monsanto DOES! And they are not real keen on sharing what goes on there.
    And don’t be so quick to defend them when they have ruined hundreds of farmers with lawsuits because Monsanto organisms were found in their fields.
    And one more thing about Monsanto and how much oversight they get. Take a look at the crossover in personnel between Monsanto and the FDA.
    So while I understand the fact that you are defending your way of life, don’t let it cloud your judgement and good sense. Cause you see I was a farm boy too….

    1. Thank you Joe Remus. The family owned farm thing was bothering me. I wish more people supported businesses that only purchased from family owned farms. We would probably be a lot better off, instead, as you said, most of our food comes from huge corporate farms. These farms do not care about the consumers the way small family owned farms care.

  12. I reserve the right to delete or not accept any comments that are off topic or derogatory in content. Please be respectful and courteous, or your comment will not be featured. Thank you!

    1. This IS your swimming pool. It is pretty rude of people when after being invited onto your pool they take it upon themselves to urinate in it!

  13. The issue of GMOs and antibiotic use aside, I think that what Chipotle is “attacking” are industrial farms, not small, i.e. “family,” farms. While small farms, defined as those with a gross cash income of less that $250,000, do account for 91 percent of all farms, they only account for 23 percent of agricultural output. That is not to discount their importance, but rather to point out that industrial farming is the source of the vast majority of agricultural products in the American food supply. And I think that Chipotle’s so-called attacks are plainly on industrial farming and its practices.

    1. Mike, thanks for stopping by and your input! The issue at hand is just because a farm is not small, does not mean it’s not a family farm. I would consider the farm that I was raised on a large farm, but it was completely owned by my family. Many family farms have had to consolidate because of land prices, rising production costs, ect.. and they essentially form a corporation of several families to create a large farm. The industrial farms your speaking of, are most likely family farms.

  14. Nicole, I want to thank you for this blog first off. Second off to the readers who suggest how to improve agriculture and don’t know what they’re actually suggesting I have several things to say:
    Pasture land that has cattle on it usually doesn’t have a deep enough soil to support crops or is not acceptable to grow crops. Beef from an animal that is implanted, contains about 45% more estrogen then an unimplemented animal. That equals about 1.8 ng (That’s nanogram) extra estrogen. One birth control bill on average is 35,000 ng of estrogen, and everything you eat except salt and sugar contains estrogen. Cabbage contains over 1,060 times more estrogen than a 8 oz steak from an implanted animal.
    While I don’t support the poultry industry for its egg laying practices (molting), poultry houses are not super over-populated. Chickens are territorial and cannibalistic. If you have two chickens in a giant room you will come back and they are going to be standing right next to each other.
    To whomever posted earlier about needing to label or eliminate GMO products, most food is a GMO. If you want to see the good GMO’s could do look up golden rice, it was developed in 1999 and is now hopefully going to be entering the world market.

  15. I support Nicole 100% and think she is a great advocate for agriculture. Everything she said here is compeltely true! She has always been a farm girl and studying agriculture at Iowa State..she knows what she is talking about!!!! Very proud of you. Keep writing!!!

  16. NIcole, thanks for the informative article. I did not grow up on a farm, but much of my family did. Two of my uncles raise cattle and have chicken houses and my grandfather has been involved in raising cattle for much of his life. My brother graduated with a degree in agricultural economics. I completely agree with your perspective on most of these issues. However, as a pharmacist, doling out antibiotics concerns me. Fewer and fewer antibiotics are being developed while more and more bugs are becoming antibiotic resistant. This isn’t an issue limited to one place, though. I have had so many patients in my pharmacy have doctors call in antibiotics without even having seen the patient. I believe this is an issue that will have to be addressed from many angles (including incentives for more antibiotics to be developed) in order to begin to reach for a solution.

  17. God gave us plants to give our bodies life. He made them perfect. Just exactly what we needed. Sin brought in death and disease and that affects our plants too. So God punished us and told Adam we would have to labor and toil to keep our bodies and plants healthy.

    Genesis 3:17
    The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life.

    But to fill our plants and bodies with chemicals to prevent having to work as hard. Bad idea. To genetically modify anything I feel is a sin and is defying God’s good and perfect design.

  18. we all have a right to our own opinion and I for one do not trust anything that our government says is safe I have chosen to eat organic for my health and I no longer have to take medication for gerd and when I eat things that aren’t organic I get sick….. I have chosen to live my life the way I want and I am thankful for places that offer the food that I have chosen to eat. I also have a large garden so that I can supply my own food. grown the way I have chosen to!

  19. It is very sad that Chipotle had to sink so low. It’s even sadder that people blinding jump on the anti-GMO train because of media publications like Farmed and Dangerous. As a registered nurse I have treated people with cirrhosis of the liver from alcohol, ulcers from energy drinks, and lung cancer from cigarettes. But never have I treated (or heard of) GMO-induced heart, kidney, or liver failure or cancer caused from GMO foods. That’s the type of info people should be sharing. Great post, Nicole!

  20. I eat at Chipotle not because they are the epitome of eco health conscious food, but because it’s a major step in the right direction for a corporate restaurant (It’s pretty tasty compared to other fast food too). The local food movement is growing in America because that’s what people want. Fresher, more nutritious, humanely and sustainably raised food sources. Chipotle is simply stepping up to meet that demand. And yes, it’s proven that chemical-free, pasture raised animals are healthier for you and for the animals. Nature never intended for them to indoors and eat junk food so their health WILL be compromised when you do this (kind of like when humans do those things). This movement isn’t a threat to any farmer. Farming is a business, and sometimes businesses have to adapt to the market. Let the consumers decide what they want.

  21. Would love to visit your farm. Where is it located and your address please?
    I’m wondering if GMO’s are so darn safe, why won’t the food industry label as such and why do companies such as Monsanto spend millions of dollars to keep our food from getting the GMO label? Why? Because the general public when given a choice between genetically modified and organic will almost always choose the organic. GMO seeds are injected with pesticides and therefore, reducing or eliminating spraying chemical pesticides on that crop during growth. However, now that pesticide is ingested into the body as it is eaten through the GMO crop. Finally, GMO’s are linked to: allergies, accelerated aging, antibiotic resistance, reproductive issues, cancer, liver problems, and links to problems with nearly every organ studied!

    1. Karen, If everyone you knew started wearing labels on their clothes that said “I’m not Karen”, wouldn’t you wonder what other people might think of you?

    2. The reason why many companies and farmers are against the labeling is because of how it has already failed in other countries. Many countries, as you probably know, have either banned GMO’s or required labeling. These countries are now looking to get them back because their economy has fallen so far behind. GMO’s make up about 75% of the market, and no one will want to buy them. Which leaves the same amount of population buying the 25% of food that is left. The matter of the fact is that the world and our country cannot survive on organics. It is okay if you feel strongly enough to buy your food grown organically, but it will not work in feeding the rest of the population. It very easy to listen to those who have enough time to get their input put into the media, but as the 2% of farmers who are working all day 365 days of the year. They do not have time to get media attention and defend themselves. The farmer treats the animals and land right, because that is what keeps their family and job going.

  22. I didn’t read every comment so this may have been touched on, but Bt is nothing but a natural protein that is indegistible by most insects. It has no effect on humans because our bodies are able to digest the protein naturally without harm.

    As far as glyphosate being relatively deadly to humans that is also incorrect. The LD50 of glyphosate is 4230mg/kg. The LD50 of caffeine is 192mg/kg. That means it takes 22x more glyphosate to kill 50% of a population than caffeine.

    Eisenhower said it best “farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil (keyboard today) and you’re a 1000 miles from the cornfield.”

  23. Thank God for the new GMO potato that is resistant to potato blight. In a bad year, it can take up to 15 spray applications to try to control the blight. Now, 15 application of pesticides eliminated from the enviroment. Maybe the guys against GMO are actually chemical supply people who see their sales going over a cliff?To the guy that wondered why products are not labeled GMO? … if there were ANY measurable differences between a GMO plant or product vs a non-GMO, they WOULD be labeled. Finally, I don’t know where the definition of small family farm comes from, but on my puny 37 acres, I generated over a quarter million on sales. You call me a factory farm? And on stewardship, I’m definitely leaving my land better than what I found it.

  24. As a fourth generation farmer myself with a minor in nutrition, I fully support the use of GMO’s. You can plant your proven “GMO free” corn in your gardens all you want, but here is the truth. Modern corn has been genetically modified for more than a thousand years which started with prehistoric mesoamericans. It is modified from a grass within the same family.The ones who showed strong traits were then bred the next season and gradually developed stronger and stronger strains. As for those that are scientifically spliced to be RoundUp or bore resistant, they have eliminated the need for multiple applications or any application at all. Herbicides and pesticides are not injected into the seeds and kernels. If everyone is so worried about the effects that the food of today is having on people, look at the portion sizes, amount of sodium, types of food(fast food vs home cooked meal), lack of physical activity, and nations of origin where high levels of heavy metals are known to be found in foods. I go to the grocery store and eat the same foods as everyone else who is anti-GMO. I guess I am one of the few who do not have any negative effects… Also as a nation we would rather turn to pharmaceuticals and that quick fix for pain instead of exercising.

  25. I also grew up in a farm and I am familiar with this way of life. I believe that you believe you are doing no harm, just as my family did. I whole-heartedly believe that most farmers and ranchers are the best kind of people and they would never knowingly do anything harm to another. Most farmers, however, have bought into industrialized practices. Many have gone this way because they see it as the only way to remain competitive. Unfortunately, in many cases, it is the only way to remain competitive and many family farms have dissolved in the recent years. I hope consumer pressure will undo what corporations have forced upon agriculture and farmers. I wish your family’s business the best and I’ll pray you and your family come around.

  26. I am glad that the debate is going more in the open. The winner will be whoever doesn’t need to fall back on name calling, doesn’t control the “science” with cash and lawyers and comes out looking like they are concerned about Heath.

  27. The majority of the debate in this forum by factory farmers has falsely been framed as “chemical farming vs. less chemical farming.” In the 21st century we actually possess the knowledge and technology to not only farm without any chemicals, but have more production per acre while improving the land and creating new top soil. The data is there for all to see. There is no debate. There is no longer any need to leave ground bare most of the year that ends up flushing all our top soil into the Gulf of Mexico. Through permaculture techniques we can build resilient agricultural ecosystems that achieve all of this. The only thing missing is a massive paradigm shift in our farmers. When farmers realize that they no longer have to be enslaved to an industrial model that is ruining America’s fertility for future generations, we can achieve this. I admonish all farmers out there to invest 30 minutes of your time to learn what permaculture is all about. You do NOT need to buy gmo anything, industrial fertilizers, pesticides, build CAFOs etc. to be productive. The people telling you need all these things are the same ones profiting off of you and robbing you of your bottom dollar!

  28. Your blog seems to be getting a lot of attention, and while #1 is a nice feeling statistic, it doesn’t tell the whole picture. Yes 96% of farms are family farms, but “Factory farming now accounts for more than 99 percent of all farmed animals raised and slaughtered in the United States”


    So Chipotle is trying to work more with family farms, rather than the industrial farms. They aren’t trying to paint the picture that all farmers are bad people and don’t care about their animals.

  29. Nicole, you are doing a great job engaging with your readers, and answering the tough questions in a positive, productive way. It’s not easy to put yourself out there like this, especially when the attacks can feel very personal. You are doing farmers everywhere a service by sharing your experience and knowledge with such grace and poise.

  30. Luckily, we are blessed enough to live in a country where we decided what we want to eat. However, the matter of the fact is that the world cannot be fed with organic food. Other countries have banned them for the lack of knowledge, but have realized that they are simply not able to produce the same amount of food and their economy is failing because of it. They are looking to bring it back at the moment. Farmers use to have to feed very few people and are now farming for people globally each day. The world will not be able to survive without increase technology in Agriculture. Thank you Nicole for providing a voice for the small 2% of this country.

  31. As a small family farmer, I prefer to stick to methods used by my ancestors rather than those that require me supporting agricultural giants whose only concern is that I continue to purchase from them. My animals get no antibiotics, because they don’t need them. They get no corn or soybeans because they also don’t need them. I welcome cameras on my property because we have nothing to hide and I do not need big Ag lobbying for laws that restrict camera use on my property. To each their own, if you trust the government and big Ag to decide what is safe to eat, by all means, enjoy. Me, I prefer to know where my food comes from and that it supported a small farm. My property has been in the family for over seven generations, I plan to keep it in the family for many more.

  32. One more thought to add to this discussion. The farm bill. Let’s get rid of it. If “modern farming” is so great, it shouldn’t require billions from taxpayers. Artificially propping up any industry with tax dollars is wrong.

  33. I stumbled upon your blog because of a story about the Chipotle chain. I have never visited one of their restaurants and after this, I don’t plan to. Our family has owned its land for generations, and my wife and I managed with my father the cattle herd his father started. They lived in a pasture with a nice lake, so they had no need for regular feeding or anti-biotics. They returned to the barn during bad weather. However, our herd muliplied would not have fed as many people as the modern mass production method does.

    As long as safety is not compromised, we will have trade offs. Which is more expensive? The modern farm or hungry people who can’t afford to buy what stores sell. A Ukrainian man discussed his country’s problems by citing a visit to a well-stocked supermarket. An old woman stood in line with her purchase–one large potato. It was all she could afford for her day’s meal,The Chiptle way would give us more people like her.

    Keep up the good work.

  34. I’m very confused by your point here. Chipotle only buys their meat and produce from local and family farms – they are actually the only ‘fast food’ restaurant to do so. How is that attacking family farms? Considering 99% of farmed animals indeed come from CAFOs, I’d think Chipotle is more like ‘supporting’ family farms.

    As for antibiotics in your farm animals – they have proven to be negative. There is no reason why farmed animals should need continuous antibiotics if they are farmed right – as in having access to outdoors, not being in too close of quarters, the right feed, etc. Antibiotics can transfer into meat – leaving humans who consume the meat to become immune to antibiotics.

    And I don’t even want to start on GMOs with you.

    I grew up on a family farm in Minnesota. Trust me, I understand. But you – just like many other ‘rightist’ folk (like the fellow MN farmer that posted this on Facebook for me to see) – are just ignorant here. It’s a shame that our family farmers feel this way – when the FDA, Department of Ag, etc. don’t give a crap about family farms anymore. It’s all about the factory farms now – and the large corps like Monsanto who think they can stomp all over everyone. I’m no spokesperson for Chipotle, but I truly think you’re attacking the wrong person here.

    1. Megan, I appreciate you stopping by and giving me your thoughts. I’d be curious to know as to where you’re getting your information as far as antibiotics being transferred from meat to humans. Did you grow up on a farm that had livestock as well?

  35. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this website.
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  36. Wow, I bet you morons have never even farmed a day in your life. So ignorant. Are you aware that nearly every food you can name has been genetically altered for the better? Are you aware that the organic markey only makes up not even 5% of our farming?? Do you not realise the hard work and passion that’s put into the food you critisize? Before you were even born these practices were put into effect to make this country what it is. If you don’t like it move to canada or mexico you idiot god I really can’t stand you soccer mom wanna bes because you have no idea that it’s the humane thing to do in every sense. Educate yourself, or better yet, go out and work an actual day in your life, and you might see there is nothing solid to what you have to say.

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