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May 13, 2019

County Commissioners to deliberate transition plan for genetically-modified crops on Boulder County-owned open space agricultural lands

Second of two public hearings scheduled for Monday, June 3; Public testimony will be taken in-person on June 3, and in advance online.

(Boulder County, Colo.) -- The Boulder County Commissioners have scheduled two public hearings to take input on proposed changes to the transition plan for genetically-modified (GM) (aka genetically-engineered, or GE) crops on Boulder County-owned agricultural open space lands.

At the first hearing on May 7, staff presented the Board of County Commissioners with a summary of efforts to facilitate the transition away from GM crops and associated pesticide and herbicide use. Staff demonstrated how the proposed revised transition timeline, paired with an investment in the development of farm-specific transition plans emphasizing soil health, would help foster a more robust opportunity for long-term tenants, whose farms and families are an important part of Boulder County, make the transition more successfully.


At a follow-up hearing scheduled for June 3, the board will take additional public testimony and deliberate the changes proposed in the amended transition plan. The goal of the revised plan is to provide farm-specific solutions for the county’s broad-acre tenants seeking to make the transition off GE crops.

“Boulder County has made progress in exploring possible crop alternatives, educating farmers and the community about soil health practices and benefits, and implementing a carbon sequestration pilot in collaboration with tenants,” said Parks & Open Space Director Eric Lane. “However, we’ve found that this collection of efforts has not been sufficient to adequately support tenants in making a successful transition. With these proposed changes, we’re looking to move forward on a plan to help our tenant farmers be successful while still phasing out GE crops.”

Lane further explained that while the current path would achieve the removal of GE crops and accompanying pesticide use from Boulder County farm lands sooner, extending the timeline and providing farm-specific support would not only help achieve that same goal, but would also open the door to other benefits such as creating viable pathways for other conventional farmers/tenants to succeed in adopting additional soil health practices, reducing pesticide use and input costs, enhancing carbon sequestration on farms and rangelands, and developing more profitable markets.

Public Hearing – 4 p.m., Monday, June 3

  • 4 p.m. Monday, June 3 -- The Boulder County Commissioners will consider public comments received over a four-week period and deliberate on the proposed plan. Additional public comment will be taken at this hearing.
  • Written comments may be submitted through the online Cropland Policy Comment Form by noon on Wednesday, May 29, in order to be considered by the Board of County Commissioners prior to the June 3 public hearing.

The public hearing will be held in the:
County Commissioners’ Hearing Room
Boulder County Courthouse
1325 Pearl Street, 3rd floor
Boulder, CO 80302

For additional background information and history, visit