Explore beef from farm to table with Austin Allred, of Royal Ranch, and Climate Pledge Arena Executive Chef Molly DeMers. As experts in their fields, they invite you to see how sustainable they have made sure beef is part of the Climate Pledge equation.
Meet beef rancher and dairy farmer Austin Allred, and Chef Molly DeMers of Climate Pledge Arena.
They are a pair of self-described kindred spirits in the quest to raise and serve beef sustainably. Allred uses regenerative farming practices and measurement to determine the carbon footprint of the beef his family farm raises near Royal City, Washington. Chef Molly is tasked with making all of the food service operations at Climate Pledge Arena meet the ambitious environmental goals of the facility. The two work together to make beef a premier offering for attendees of sports and entertainment events at the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world.
Chef Molly DeMers leans over in the saddle while Central Washington cattle farmer Austin Allred hands her a sample of pasture grass, roots up. The sample tells a story. A story of soil health and the very real way crops and healthy range lands and pastures sequester the atmosphere's carbon. Given Chef Molly's role in meeting the Climate Pledge Arena goal to be the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world, Allred's farming and ranching practices have Molly's attention. The two have walked somewhat parallel paths in the pursuit of understanding, and measuring, the environmental impacts of their respective trades. Early conversations about Climate Pledge Arena's food service offerings and meeting climate objectives included cutting beef off the menu all together. To Chef Molly, that was an unacceptable approach.
"There's a lot of smoke and mirrors in the food industry, and this is a transparent relationship that we have with our community where we're waving our hands saying, we don't have all the answers, but we're gonna go out to the farms. We're gonna break bread with people, and we're gonna humanize this experience and talk potatoes, talk beef, and we're gonna talk about how we do this better."
- Executive Chef Molly DeMers, Climate Pledge Arena
In the quest to provide guests the experience and food choices they want, while quantifying the environmental impacts, she met Austin, and quite literally took the reins to learn more. She gained newfound knowledge (in part, on horseback) about how beef is raised and grown, and a partner in the form of a local family farm. "My
dad started potato farming. It worked into apples and
cherries, and then naturally we needed ruminants or cattle to be
a part of the equation in order to do it more
sustainably," says Allred. "We farm in Royal City, Washington,
which is in central Washington, right in between
Seattle and Spokane. The Columbia River brings life
to this area of Washington and allows us to do
what we need to do in order to create a whole bunch
of food for a whole bunch of people."
With Royal Ranch, Chef Molly found a local source of beef for the variety of food concepts offered around Climate Pledge Arena. But the relationship was about more than the business of beef, Chef Molly and Austin stand firmly on the common ground of innovation in pursuit of feeding people. Measurement really is the key ingredient that sets this partnership apart, as they agree it's critical to innovation to scale and measure the impact of their respective trades. Austin and his family use their foundation as a crop and dairy farm, to raise beef with a measurable carbon footprint based on the biogenic methane cycle of cattle and carbon sequestration achieved through their farming and ranching practices. Because healthy pastures, rangeland, and farmland can sequester (trap) carbon in soil, a carbon-neutral cattle sector has the potential to pull carbon emitted by other sectors (such as energy and transportation that do not boast that ability) out of the atmosphere.
While not all farmers and ranchers who raised cattle in Washington, and across the U.S., are as far along in their measurement abilities, their practices are aligned with Austin's priority of constantly improving methods with the aim of increasing efficiencies and playing a critical role in the biogenic carbon cycle. Given the potential positive climate impacts of raising beef, just like Chef Molly and the Climate Pledge Arena decision makers, more leaders are turning to beef farmers and ranchers to be a powerful part of climate solutions.
Learn more about the many ways Washington's beef farmers and ranchers are working to steward and continuously improve the environment for generations to come.