Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer has implemented new regulations aimed at protecting American ginseng in the state.
"Ginseng is an important part of Kentucky's natural environment and is also an important source of income for up to 10,000 Kentuckians," Commissioner Farmer said. "These new regulations will help ensure that ginseng can be harvested in a sustainable way for generations."
State law requires the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to oversee the harvesting and sale of ginseng. The new regulations set the dates when ginseng may be harvested and sold, regulates how sales are documented, and sets penalties for violation. They also set out documentation requirements for artificially propagated ginseng.
American ginseng is an herb native to the forests of the eastern United States and Canada. Varieties of ginseng have been used for traditional medicinal purposes for centuries. Eighty-five percent of the ginseng harvested in the United States is exported to Hong Kong, and most of it is consumed in China. Growing demand for ginseng in recent years has begun to threaten the sustainability of the plant, which grows slowly and is considered an at-risk species under federal law. Prices for wild Kentucky ginseng at times have risen above $500 per pound.
The new regulations, a list of licensed ginseng dealers and an overview of the Department’s ginseng program are available at www.kyagr.com/marketing/plantmktg/Ginseng.htm.