Sustainable agriculture leader Niman Ranch announced that Brian Niccol, chief executive officer of Chipotle Mexican Grill, will be recognized as Honorary Hog Farmer at their 21st Annual Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, on September 7. This is Niman Ranch’s highest honor and recognizes the 20-year partnership between Niman Ranch and Chipotle and their shared commitment to supporting sustainable farmers. Niccol will receive a plaque and a pair of denim overalls to commemorate the occasion.
“Chipotle has been a key partner for Niman Ranch since our very early years and that has continued to this day,” says Paul Willis, Niman Ranch’s Founding Hog Farmer. “Steve Ells, the founder of Chipotle and Honorary Niman Ranch Hog Farmer, visited my farm in 1998 and saw the stark contrast between the Niman Ranch way and the dominant pork industry. The two companies have worked together ever since through many changes. I’m proud to officially have Brian join the Niman Ranch family with the Honorary Farmer recognition and look forward to continued partnership in the decades to come.”
Since 2006, Chipotle has directly invested in the future of sustainable agriculture by donating over $240,000 to the Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation, which awards scholarships to the children of Niman Ranch farmers to help offset the burden of obtaining a college education. These funds have directly helped deserving and hardworking young people so they can return to the family farm and support their communities.
“We are thrilled to continue our support of the Next Generation Foundation and further our 20-year partnership with Niman Ranch. Having just visited several Niman Ranch farms and seeing firsthand their commitment to animal welfare, I am proud to continue our support of this network of family farmers,” Niccol says.
Chipotle’s Food with Integrity program has educated a generation of consumers on the importance of fresh, sustainably produced food. From featuring farmers like Paul Willis, Niman Ranch’s founding hog farmer, on their cups to their large-scale festivals and iconic marketing, Chipotle’s messaging has changed the way people think about what they eat. Niccol’s Honorary Niman Ranch Hog Farmer recognition further solidifies this legacy.