Royal Ranch is using cows as the next big thing in saving the planet
Royal City, WA (PRWEB) - Royal Ranch in Royal City, Wash. announces today its launch of carbon-neutral, climate-conscious, beef in answer to the rise of alternative meat patties claiming to be better for consumers and the environment.
“More than anything, if you look at where my passion started, it was seeing people’s misunderstanding of cows as these big carbon creators and ignoring their positive impacts,” said Austin Allred, owner of Royal Ranch.
For Allred, the answer to alternative meat patties was right in front of him: using existing systems on their farm and adapting them to work toward producing beef that environmentally conscious consumers could feel good about.
The development of their cattle herd into being carbon negative started with their 8-acre biofilter. Allred describes it as a “worm bed” that acts as a water filtration system for their farm, helping to recycle gray water for reuse.
“The only potable water we use on the farm is water for the cattle to drink and in areas where it is required for cleaning,” Allred said.
Royal Ranch also uses the “castings” or manure of the worms and cattle for compost, raises cover crops, and uses specific crop rotations to integrate regenerative farming practices into their farming model as the backbone of making their beef production carbon neutral. Regenerative farming is a method of farming that uses manure, crop rotations and cover crops, cattle, and low-till crops to improve the fertility and water retention of the soil.
“We’re collecting about 42,000 tons of CO2 credits (annually), just through those worm beds and the denitrification process,” said Allred. Denitrification is the process of converting greenhouse gasses into benign earth-friendly gasses through the worm bed biofilter.
Beyond that, carbon dioxide credits are earned by the ranch through carbon sequestration primarily in the soil. Allred tracks all the ranch’s carbon emissions and sequestration using the COMET-Farm program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Colorado State University.
COMET-Farm allows farmers and ranchers to input their crop and livestock management practice history over a 20-year period and calculates both their carbon emissions and possible carbon savings by providing suggestions for how farmers and ranchers can improve their practices.
“I think we’ve captured some of the most fundamental, natural duplications of God’s creation and tried to enhance them,” Allred said. “We take the soil and work with the soil. We take worms and we work with the worms, and the cows too.”
The implementation of regenerative farming practices also highly encourages the use of cattle on the landscape.
“My dad raises potatoes. I’m the one that wanted to try to raise cows,” Allred said. “If we didn’t have the cows, so many of our tools for healthy soils would go away.” Cows and utilizing them to enhance the soil are one of the pillars of regenerative farming.
To keep cattle moving through the farm supply chain, Royal Ranch uses FarmTracer to market their beef. FarmTracer gives consumers ultimate transparency when it comes to buying meat from Royal Ranch.
Consumers can visit the FarmTracer website and type in a unique number assigned to each animal to get information about the lineage of the cow, its diet during its lifetime, and even its total carbon footprint.
For Allred, this answers the question at the heart of alternative meat patties: carbon footprint.
“It seems so ridiculous that we’re trying to be organic and natural but eating that. We need to take a long, hard look at what happens to our soil without cows,” Allred said. “It’s in a documentary somewhere that if we are planting only human-consumed foods in all our acres, we’d solve all our hunger problems but what’s the rotation? What’s the organic matter and carbon source to keep making our soil successful?”
For Royal Ranch, the key to carbon neutral cattle is in the soil and in keeping their beef raised birth to harvest on the ranch.
Allred says people should feel good about eating meat because eating meat supports the rest of our food production system.
“(Cows) can take the byproducts we don’t want or don’t like and make them into something good,” Allred said. “They eat apple pulp, potato skins, and upcycle them.”
The bottom line for Allred is showing consumers a holistic approach to cattle raising and farming creates better beef and a healthier environment in our food system. He said the answer to the question of climate change is soil health and good soil health requires cattle.
To keep his farm and ranch operating in a cost-effective manner, those cattle need to be sold periodically for the betterment of the herd’s overall health and, in turn, to provide food for consumers, making Royal Ranch a winning combination for everyone involved.
“America has cheaper and safer food than any other food system in the world,” Allred said. “We’re just trying to make it work a little better by having a cow sitting in the middle of it.”
You can find more information about Royal Ranch’s beef at http://www.royalranch.com.