Gabriela Cruz farms in a part of the world where biotech crops not only are looked down on by some but are also banned, for the most part, by government fiat.

But Cruz is an anomaly in her world in that she not only plants a genetically modified crop – Bt corn – but she’s also pushing her government and the governments of other European Union countries to allow other farmers to grow them.

Cruz, who was named the winner of the 2010 Kleckner Trade and Technology Advancement Award in Des Moines, Iowa, Wednesday (Oct. 13), manages a 700-hectare (1,700-acre) farm in Portugal that she owns with her sisters.

Currently, Bt corn is one of only two genetically modified crops that can be grown legally in the member countries of the European Union. Besides Bt corn, Cruz and her sisters also grow conventional corn, wheat, triticale, barley, green peas and livestock.