KANSAS CITY, MO. – Beef has reprised its role as the bad guy in the ongoing battle against climate change, apparently.
Total emissions from global livestock per year represent 14.5% of all “anthropogenic GHG emissions, and cattle are the animal species responsible for the most greenhouse gas emissions representing about 65% of the livestock sector’s emissions,” according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Armed with these statistics, and a mission to make cooking more environmentally friendly, leading voices in the culinary space are speaking out against meat consumption. For example, editors at Epicurious, a popular website for recipes and culinary inspiration, announced in April plans to cease publishing recipes featuring beef as an ingredient. Existing recipes will remain, but no new beef recipes going forward. In fact, the editors at Epicurious had been phasing out beef recipes for over a year.
On the policy front, rumblings about the Biden administration’s 30x30 plan, which establishes a goal to conserve 30% of US lands and waters by 2030, did nothing to ease concerns about beef becoming a casualty in the culture wars.
The individuals behind these decisions say it’s not about being anti-beef; it’s about being pro-planet; and that it’s not a vendetta against cows or carnivores, it’s about raising the volume of the conversation around sustainable food systems at a time when meat consumption is on the rise.
But to the people whose livelihood is raising cattle, it’s a conversation that doesn’t include them or their efforts to make beef production part of the solution to climate change. We spoke with Nadine Rich, marketing director at Teton Waters Ranch, about regenerative agriculture practices beef producers utilize to mitigate impacts on the environment. Teton Waters Ranch produces 100% grass-fed and finished beef products including sausages, hot dogs, burgers and meatballs. Jeff Russell, a real estate investor, founded the company on a former potato farm in Idaho, using regenerative agriculture practices to rehabilitate the land – planting native grasses, rotating grazing cattle and letting the animals fertilize the soil.
Based in Denver, Teton Waters Ranch has formed a global network of farmers and ranchers that practice regenerative agriculture and that are committed to humane animal husbandry methods – systems the company believes successfully work with nature, not against it.