For 2nd Year, Ginseng Harvests Down

By: Jennifer Kliese Email
By: Jennifer Kliese Email

Fall is harvest time for many farmers, and here in Marathon County, ginseng is now being gathered. But after a late spring snowfall last season, farmers say crop damage is still an issue.

It takes three years to grow ginseng to the point where it's ready to be harvested, so the ginseng killed off back in may 2010 will hurt outputs through next year. Farmers say they've lost more than half their crop and a lot of time out in the fields repairing damage.

"I lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 60% of my crop. I would consider myself one of the luckier ones, most people lost considerably more than 60%," says President of the Wisconsin Ginseng Board, Joe Heil.

Heil says prices have gone up because there is less root available. The state produces 95 percent of the world's ginseng and 90 percent of Wisconsin's production comes from Marathon County. 80 percent of the state's product is shipped to Asian countries.

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