b"Debbie Jones with Gaia Consulting makingDebbie Jones with Gaia Consulting stands in a field near Portage selections in a field near Portage la Prairie, Man. la Prairie, Man.PHOTOS: GAIA CONSULTINGTesting Potato ProductsIndependent research companies like Gaia Consulting are an important part of getting new products approved for the potato industry.BY: ASHLEY ROBINSONWHEN A COMPANY MAKES a new potato protection product there are a few things they have to do to get it registered by the Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). Among the boxes to check, they need to see howContract research organizations, it performs across the country, which is where independenttheyre pretty vital to the potato contract research companies come into the picture.Any company, if they work with potatoes at all, or potatoindustry in Canada. Thats mainly products, or registering potato products, are going to do trialsbecause the potato production is with us at least sometimes. They all know who we are. And we work with all of them, says Darin Gibson with Gaia Consultingdiverse across the country. in an interview in Portage la Prairie, Man. We probably do asJEN FOSTERmany trials as anybody in Canada. And so, we're sort of the main ones in the Prairies that do contract research with potato.Across Canada there are various small companies, such as Gaia Consulting and Atlantic AgriTech, who work with various companies. These contract research companies collect dataGaia Consulting has tested seed treatment products, fungicides, on the efficacy of the product in various locations across theinsecticides, foliar fungicides, and foliar insecticides for them. country. This data is then provided to the PMRA for the productsThese local contract research companies arent just important registration approval. for testing products, Foster says they also rely on them for Contract research organizations, they're pretty vital to theinformation about whats happening in the potato industry. potato industry in Canada. That's mainly because the potatoWithout their expertise we wouldn't know if we were production is diverse across the country, Jen Foster, agronomicbuilding solutions that are really fit for the local market. And we services manager with Syngenta, explains in a phone interview.have ongoing conversations with Darin to understand what those We rely on these contract research organizations to expandlocal needs are of the growers he works with to really make sure that footprint, looking for product consistency across multiplewe're hitting all the marks and expectations, she explains.geographies. For the companies doing that testing there is lots to keep track Syngenta has been working with Gaia Consulting for data onof. Depending on what the product is supposed to do, they need their products in Manitoba for more than a decade. Foster saysto try and expose it to that pest or disease. For example, if a 36SPUDSMART.COM Winter 2022"