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May 2, 2017

County Commissioners reject sustainable agricultural research proposals

New request for proposals to be issued later this month

Boulder County, Colo. - After review and analysis, Boulder County staff recommended that the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) reject the two proposals submitted for the Sustainable Agricultural Research and Innovation Initiative (SARII). The BOCC concurred with the staff recommendation and voted to reject the bids at a public meeting on May 2.

While both proposals contained some elements envisioned for the agricultural research center, neither provided the necessary combination of experience in running a research center, appropriate staffing and institutional support, or a research plan with a scope to compare a full variety of production methods. Therefore, based on the proposals and subsequent vendor interviews, staff did not have confidence that either bidder could fully deliver what was requested in the RFP.

In order to advance this project, staff will make refinements and add specificity to the proposed project and quickly issue a new RFP this month. The release of a second SARII RFP will initiate a new process that will be open to all bidders that meet its listed requirements. Both previous bidders will also be welcome to submit proposals in response to the new request. In the meantime, county staff will manage the Haley property--the proposed site of the research center—until a contractor and manager is chosen for the project.

In November 2016 the Board of County Commissioners recommended changes to the county’s cropland policy with respect to genetically-engineered crops. At that same meeting the board directed Boulder County Parks & Open Space staff to pursue some of the ideas that had been suggested during the public process. One broadly supported proposal was the creation of a Sustainable Agricultural Research and Innovation Initiative center. On February 2 of this year, the county issued a request for proposals (RFP) to prospective vendors and contractors asking them to submit plans for developing and managing this agricultural research center. On March 28, the RFP period closed with the county receiving a total of two proposals, one from Rodale Institute in partnership with Colorado State University and one from Mountain High Research.

For more information about SARII and the Cropland Policy, please visit, or contact Jeff Moline, Agricultural Resources Manager, at or 303-678-6270.