Boulder County open space farmers facing a forced transition away from GMO crops are asking for a time out as the process to find a suitable crop replacements has stalled amid controversy and criticism.
Two entities are currently in the running to head an agricultural research center — tasked with finding financially viable alternatives to GMOs — for Boulder County: Colorado State University and Western Sugar, a cooperative of sugar beet farmers.
Bids were due Aug. 22, with staff set to make recommendations to commissioners the week of Sept. 11. But after critics charged CSU and county commissioners with unethical practices in the bid for the research center, momentum on the project ground to a halt. An ethics expert told…that the project was beyond redemption, and recommended that the county start over.
No public hearings have been scheduled on the issue, however, and county officials said no firm date for even a private, routine meeting between staff and commissioners was on the books.
[Paul Schlagel, a farmer who grows GMO sugar beets on leased county land] says he typically plans his crops four years in advance. He and other farmers have not begun working on transition plans of their own, independent of the county. They fear any changes might run afoul of whatever plan county officials eventually put in place.
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