Colorado Comeback Money winner Pete Vegas has sustainable agriculture plan for cash

By Alex Edwards

Boulder has new comeback cash winners in Colorado’s seed lottery. Pete Vegas received $ 1 million in prize money and Levi received a $ 50,000 scholarship as part of ongoing efforts to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The winners were announced at a press conference held by Governor Jared Polis on Friday, streamed on Facebook. See below bit.ly/3vzGJs9. Since Levi is only 13 years old, his last name has not been disclosed.

Vegas owns Sage V (pronounced Sage Five) Foods, which specializes in making rice-based ingredients for processed foods. As a private individual, Vegas didn’t want to talk about its profits.

However, he was more than happy to talk about his plans for the money. Vegas is passionate about the environment and as a professional farmer he recognizes the negative impact modern agriculture can have on it.

“I plowed the land I had at least five times a year,” he said. “People are still following these practices and have reduced the organic matter in the soil over time.”

Organic matter contains a lot, which brings with it two problems: Plants need carbon to grow, among other things, but plowing the land disrupts and displaces the carbon that is then released into the atmosphere.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, agriculture can cause up to 31% of greenhouse gas emissions. Vegas plans to use some of the money won to subsidize regenerative farming for some of the farms growing for its business to help reduce that impact.

“It (regenerative agriculture) is trying to restore the soil, and it is trying to pull carbon out of the air and put it back into the ground,” he said.

And it’s not just a fad: Regenerative agriculture works.

However, widespread adoption could be an uphill battle due to government funding and policies favoring other crops like corn and soybeans. In addition, the cost of adopting regenerative agriculture will be high, simply because there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

“If you go south, where you have a lot more moisture, you have a much larger weed population, a population of insects,” he said. “Whoever does it first will lose money because we don’t know how to do it. It’s going to be an experiment. “

This is where the Colorado Comeback Cash Money comes in. Vegas said he plans to work with farmers who grow for him to test regenerative agriculture using rice crops. He plans to pay them whatever they lose during the experimental cultivation.

“It doesn’t get any government aid,” he said. “If you are interested in regenerative ag, you are on your own.”

While members of Vegas’ own older generation are more skeptical of the practice, he said that young members are open to the opportunities the practice offers.

On vaccines and public health, Vegas expressed its frustration at how superficial concerns about the vaccine appear to be. In his opinion, vaccines are viewed as something to prevent an individual from getting sick rather than for the good of the nation and the world.

“It’s not just about protecting yourself,” he said. “It’s a really selfish attitude. This is a situation where people have to think about the whole thing; You have to think of other people and what we can all do together to eradicate such a disease. “

Smallpox was eradicated by vaccination and declared eradicated in 1980 by the World Health Organization.

“Everyone’s talking about, ‘Oh, it’s safe,’ or, in this case, ‘If you get your vaccine, you might make some money,'” he said. “We’re all trying to come together and turn this disease off, and that can’t happen if some people hold back.”