The Iowa Senate has voted to give a northwest Iowa company the go-ahead for a project which could yield a substitute for human blood. The bill approved by the Senate would give “Trans Ova Genetics” in Sioux Center the ability to buy farmland to raise dairy cows for the project. Iowa law prohibits corporate ownership of farmland and livestock. Senator Ken Veenstra, a republican from Orange City, said the project is exciting. He says if Iowa doesn’t take advantage of it, someone else will. Veenstra says Iowa can become the “Silicon Valley” for biotechnology.Some Senators worried that other businesses would sneak in as the bill gives “life science” operations an exemption from Iowa’s law barring corporate ownership of farmland and livestock. Senator Jack Rife, a republican from Durant, is a cattleman. Rife says that his gut tells him there’s more to the bill than what it appears. Rife says some large pharmaceutical company will probably buy out Trans Ova to gain control of the technology.Senator David Miller, a republican from Libertyville, said the desire for economic growth may bring dire consequences that find farmers working for large companies.But Senator Pat Deluhery, a democrat from Davenport, supported the bill. Deluhery says Iowa has a lot to contribute to the nation and the world in this area. He says the state may have to make some adjustments, and should welcome new players into business instead of being afraid of them.Senator Mike Gronstal, a democrat from Council Bluffs, said he was surprised some Senators resisted the bill. He says the state should take more risks and he bets there’ll be some pretty good jobs come out of the process.Minor changes made last night by the Senate must be approved by the House before the bill goes to Governor Vilsack for his approval. Two veterinarians formed “Trans Ova Genetics” in Sioux Center in 1979. If the company seeks F-D-A approval for producing an animal by-product that may one day account for one-quarter of the world’s blood supply for humans.
You are here: / / Controversial genetics bill passes senate