According to Boulder Public Radio, Boulder County authorities may soon prohibit farmers from growing genetically engineered crops on county-owned farmland.

Last month, county staff drafted plans for phasing out GMO crops. The decision ends years of debate between opponents of GMOs and the tenant farmers that grow them. Since December 2011, tenant farmers have grown genetically modified corn and sugar beets on land leased from Boulder County. That policy remains in effect through the end of this year as county officials implement the change.

Dan Lisco, president of the Farmers Alliance for Integrated Resources, told the Longmont Times-Call that tenant farmers will consider “legal remedies” to any future county action to ban GMOs. Lisco believes such action might violate some terms of the farmers’ leases with the county.

Boulder County has acquired large amounts of farmland in aggressively countering urban sprawl. Since the 1970s, the county has bought nearly 100,000 acres of rural land. The county leases some of that land back where farmers grow about 1,000 acres of GMO corn and sugar beets.

The issue remains contentious. The Denver Post editorialized that county commissioners “bowed to a coalition of anti-GMO activists and representatives of the organic and natural foods industries that spread fear and falsehoods in the face of overwhelming consensus among scientists and prestigious scientific bodies that the foodstuffs are safe.”

More on the Boulder County be viewed here.