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Chipotle To Buy Products From Next-gen Farmers; Commits To Local Sourcing

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Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. made a commitment to next-gen farmers to buy products from them and increase its local sourcing across the country in 2020 to help drive the future of farming for younger generations.

The Mexican food chain said it is planning for three-year sourcing contracts, seed grants and increased local purchasing to help young farmers and their communities to make a living during a period of steep agriculture downturn.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farm debt is projected to hit a record $416 billion this year, up almost 40% since 2012. The average age of farmers is at about 58 years and more than half of U.S. farms lost money last year, according to the USDA-NASS 2017 Census data.

U.S. agriculture has reportedly lost over 40 times more farmers than it gained over the last five years with the younger generation not interested in farming anymore.

Chipotle is targeting farmers under the age of 40 under this drive. It will also help reinvigorate the farming industry as fewer farms will mean less real nutritious food and trouble for the communities that depend on them. However, farmers will have to meet its Food with Integrity standards starting with beef, pork and dairy.

Chipotle will also support young farmers through various approved livestock and dairy networks, including Niman Ranch, and its own Local Growers Initiative.

Additionally, it will raise money through consumer actions to fund Seed Grants to young farmers. As a start, it will donate $1 towards Seed Grants, up to $250,000, from every entrée purchased on chipotle.com or the Chipotle app on Farmer Friday on December 6.

A similar donation will also be made to the National Young Farmers Coalition for every post on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using #farmers on January 1, 2020.

Chipotle expects that these efforts will help it serve more local ingredients in its Chipotle restaurant than before. According to a Chipotle sustainability report, 29 million pounds of all produce purchased last year was grown locally.

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