MJBizMag May-June 2022 - 12

FIVE QUESTIONS with Robert Trotter
Afghanistan of the Rockies
Hydroelectric turbine allows Colorado farmer to replicate famed
growing region and cultivate marijuana with zero carbon footprint
By John Schroyer
L
ongtime Colorado farm owner
Robert Trotter decided to try
his hand at growing marijuana
in 2015. After a few years of
experimenting, he arrived at what
he believes is a truly sustainable
business model-in more ways
than one.
Trotter bought his farm in 1992
and installed a hydroelectric
turbine capable of producing all the
electricity he needs to power the
two homes on the property-and
to harvest 10,000-plus sun-grown
cannabis plants each fall.
The achievement drives Trotter's
claim that Gypsum, Coloradobased
Pot Zero is the only cannabis
farm in the state with a zerocarbon
footprint.
The company has also begun
winning local cannabis competitions
with its flower. " I think
that's a sign that we're doing
something right, " the grower told
MJBizMagazine.
We caught up with Trotter to
pick his brain on sustainability in
cannabis cultivation.
Was it always the goal
to make your grow as
sustainable as possible?
It absolutely was, because of the
history that we have of being here
for 30 years and the sustainable
nature of our ranch. My mentality
has been wrapped around that
from the beginning. It's almost an
obsession.
We were forced to choose this
(outdoor cultivation) model, but I
12 May-June 2022 | MJBizMagazine
also wanted this model. This plant,
throughout history, has been grown
extremely well in unique locations
across the planet.
And I thought that, at 8,100
feet elevation, with the prevailing
environment that was up here, we
were very much like Afghanistan.
And we have the same light
attributes as Afghanistan.
The latitude matters a lot: The
sun is working with the shortening
of the days, encouraging the
flowering; the intensity of the sun
as you're coming into the equinox
... helps to produce resin content.
When the sun comes up and goes
around during the day, it gives light
to a lot of different parts of the
plant, which is very tough to get
from an indoor environment. So we
thought, from the very beginning,
that the sun was really the main
driver.
What steps are you taking
that other " sustainable "
cultivation operations are not?
It's the combination of a
hydroelectric turbine producing
green power 24 hours a day
that drives all of the electrical
needs of our operation, and then
the sun does the rest. Those
two components give us that
superclean model.
No matter what you do inside,
you still need all that electricity.
You cannot replace the sun. I don't
know how you do that. Could you
imagine growing tobacco inside,
under lights?
Robert Trotter
How do your setup cost
compare to other cannabis
cultivators' operating costs?
It's kind of a tricky question. Here's
why: We've owned the ranch since
1992. It's a family-owned property.
We didn't have to go out and buy.
The guys that went and bought,
they got themselves a parcel that
cost them money. And then they
put a bunch of stuff on there, and it
cost them money.
Ours is different. And that's
why I still think this thing (should
be geared) toward the farming
community. Because there are
lots of smart farmers with lots of
beautiful land that could dovetail
these kinds of operations right
into what they're already doing.
And you don't have to rebuild and
reinvent the wheel.
And that's kind of what we've
done here: just dovetailed the
marijuana operation into what
was already ... an award-winning
agrarian model.

MJBizMag May-June 2022

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