Boulder County will phase out the cultivation of genetically modified corn and sugar beets and the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on county-owned farmland.
The county commissioners voted 2-1 Thursday on a plan that would ban GMO corn by the end of 2019 and sugar beets by the end of 2021, and neonicotinoids, believed to be toxic to bees, within five years.
The plan includes a requirement that the county staff work with each of Boulder County’s tenant farmers to determine the financial risk of the transition to each farmer, and to help find ways to minimize potential negative impacts.
It leaves open the possibility that in the future, Boulder County will consider allowing genetically engineered crops with traits that do not rely on the use of pesticides.
It also notes the county’s intent to fund a sustainable-agriculture research facility. Experiments there could include comparisons of a variety of production methods, including technologies associated with the growing of GMO crops.