The damaging effects of Prop 37 will reach well beyond California’s borders. The measure’s success would give biotechnology an unnecessary black eye — at a time when we must rely on biotechnology more than ever before.

You’ve certainly heard about this year’s drought. It was awful: probably the worst I’ve seen in a lifetime of farming. Yet biotechnology is on the cusp of making great strides in drought resistance, allowing crops to grow even when they don’t receive much water. Farmers like me want and need access to those tools.  Seriously, consumers like you should want me to have those tools as well!

California is the most populous and a very important state in the country. It has a well deserved reputation for starting national trends. If its voters decide to pass Prop 37, they will send a powerful signal that public opinion is turning against agricultural technology, despite their clear benefits. Researchers will shift to other fields. Food producers will worry about new regulations, approved not for reasons of nutrition or safety, but because the schemes of special interests have triumphed.

Cut off from promising new technologies, farmers across the country will find themselves growing less than they should: That’s bad for California, bad for Iowa, and bad for America.

Tim Burrack raises corn, soybeans and pork on a NE Iowa family farm.  He volunteers as a Board Member of Truth About Trade and Technology