By Rob Robertson, Nebraska Farm Bureau chief administrator
The recent release of a video by the Chipotle restaurant chain that attempts to advance the agenda against modern agriculture practices should have a sequel to give its audience the real picture.
The YouTube video attempts to manipulate viewers with a romanticized view of the benefits of small, sustainable, organic farms that don’t use buildings and confined housing to raise and protect farm animals. In an animated, graphically designed video with Willie Nelson singing “The Scientist” in the background, viewers are hypnotized into the beauties of yesteryear farms by moving the theme from small, open pen farms with red barns to confined “factory farm” operations back to the wonders of the small farm.
A happy ending to this clip does not give the full story of how sad the sequel would be. The story would be much worse to even those who condemn commercial agriculture and the evils of confinement practices for raising farm animals. Having an agenda and arguing against today’s modern farm practices is a prescription for worldwide hunger.
What the activists who despise factory farms (their term) don’t know or fail to acknowledge is that modern day farm and ranch family operations are being asked to feed a world that will have 2 billion more people in the year 2040, up from the current total of about 7 billion.
I am confident our farmers and ranchers can do this because of more technology, more innovation and more will power to produce more food with fewer resources. This is what modern agriculture is already doing today.
I could get into all the science and facts on the reasons why confined housing units have been a proven and humane practice in animal agriculture. But anti-ag activist won’t listen to mainstream agriculture when we explain that these barns improve welfare by protecting animals from predators, disease, bad weather, harmful birthing situations, and sometimes, each other.
So that’s why I think a sequel to the Chipotle video ought to be produced to show the real story with the real possible results of the anti-modern day agriculture agenda. It would be both a sad and horrifying picture of world famine that is not contained to places in Africa where it is most prevalent today. World hunger, lengthy food lines, high food prices and food safety issues would run amok throughout the world if the organic, small, sustainable and local food crowd is successful in implementing its agenda for everyone.
The choice is about feeding the world or accepting hunger — someone else’s — to maintain a certain majestically positive feeling about how farms used to be.