Boulder County Makes a Bold Move Towards Eliminating GMOs


Colorado’s Boulder County has drafted a plan to eliminate county-owned land of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the near future, as means of promoting the best interest of their people. The Board of County Commissioners announced this directive in late March.

Under the current policy that took effect in 2011, farmers are allowed to grow a variety of GM beets and corn in order to make them more resistant to certain types of pests; however, the recent surge of interest groups challenging the health and safety impacts of GMOs have pushed for the government to phase them out. These advocates are hoping to protect human health and the environment through the elimination of genetically modified crops.

Farmers who participate in the growing of GM crops argue that not only are the crops safe, but they reduce  the amount of water and pesticides needed for cultivation. These claims echo those made by the biotech industry, which has been known to fund massive campaigns to stop GMO labeling and fight for continued production.

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While no formal vote was conducted, the Board indicated that a plan to eliminate GMO crops on nearly 1,180 total acres of land over the next three-to-five year period. Two of the three commissioners expressed support for this plan; however, the third commissioner, Cindy Domenico, stated that she supported an earlier vote by the Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee to continue a GMO-permissive policy. If she had to concede, she also said she would prefer the phase-out occur over a longer period of time.

With this decision, the community expressed a mixed bag of responses. Some, like Dan Lisco, expressed disappointment in the initiative. As president of the Farmers Alliance for Integrated Resources, Lisco oversees many tenant farmers and farmers who grow on private lands. His objections include similar ones made by the biotech industry, in which he claimed GMOs are completely safe and actually require less pesticide usage than organic farming. Science, however, refutes these claims. Multiple studies have shown that more GMOs call for more pesticide use.

Though some tenant farmers may look for legal means of overturning the commissioners’ plan, other community members expressed satisfaction with the course Boulder County has taken. Advocates who have been fighting for years for the retraction of genetic modification permissiveness are sure to be celebrating about this step towards ridding the country of GMOs.

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Photo credit: leyink via VisualHunt / CC BY

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