Now Iowa may not be known for potatoes like Idaho is, but that doesn’t mean farmers here can’t grow them.

When growing potatoes- like any crop, there is always that worry about diseases such as Potato Virus Y and Ring Rot. And instead of sorting through your harvest to find them, why not let a dog?

Andrea Parish, owner of Nose Knows Scouting, said it all started two years ago when she was looking for something for her retired search and rescue dog to do.

“So, we can go out and run fields, but we can also find it in storage. We run the plenum in the storage units, so we don’t even touch the potatoes. We run under them. If they’re in bins or boxes or bags, we’ll just walk around them. And if we get a positive, then we separate it and we can rogue out the individual potato that has PVY, and we do all strains of PVY,” said Parish.

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This disease-detecting method, Parish admits, is not one many people are familiar with.

“It’s a new concept, but it’s not,” said Parish So, the reason that we knew it was going to work is that bomb dogs work, cancer dogs work, COVID dogs work, so we knew it would work.”

And it has been proven to be pretty accurate.

“I know it’s a new concept for the industry and it’s a big change, but they’re over 99 percent accurate. That’s been proved by the citrus greening dogs. The USDA did a big study on that and they find it accurately, objectively,” said Parish. “We can tell you how much of a problem you have and then you can decide what you want to do with it.”

Sadly Parish and her dogs are located out in Wyoming, but her website does say you can mail in samples for her dogs to test.

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