The posting format has changed my spacing on the post ehre, i can't seem to controll it. Please bear with me...
Will, thank you further defining the \"differentation\" question I raised. I thought I knew what you meant, however a close definition allows for great discussion,
and I actually really like long answers.
And I thank our Canadian brother, Guy, for the succinct and informative discussion of the ramifications of the CITES work. Sounds like you have been involved with 'sang for a very long time.
Now, the rest of this post is long, I have been thinking.....
Will- When you were on the livestock farm, did you band together as association of sorts
to further this business of differentation? Are you still farming in this manner?
I must agree with you that our wild-sim 'sang is in many ways better than wild. I think this
is key, however, overcomeing the perception that a 'Man-root\" shape has something to do with
elevated levels of effect; this might be difficult, if not impossible. More on this later.
Identification of a market is not too hard, actually. If such a market exists, then why not
target sales to it directly? Actually this is a retorical question... that market presently exists, has existed for many hundreds of years, and it's name is \"China.\" They buy all we grow, and are shrewd in their business dealings. There are other previously defined markets as well,
called Vietnam, Tiawan, Cambodia, Korea....
Since these countries have been dealing in 'sang for literally hundreds of years, there has
been quite the culture developed around ginseng. I think it's ginseng culture is steeped
in traditions that few westerners really understand well.
If we growers were to band together in the differentations, forming a American Ginseng
Growers Association, then IMHO it's entirely possible for the differentations to produce higher profits. Some of the aspects of this that are needed are:
1] a charter to have an organization with.
2] a physical location to store roots in until actual export
3] capital to purchase roots, pay operating costs with
4] international export license
5] staff to prepare roots for actual export
6] code of ethics so the association does not have a poor rep as \"bad buyers\"
7] international contacts
8] I'm sure there are other facets I can't think of right now...
I think it's entirely possible with the right group of people. there are business models
out there for this sort of thing... someone wouldn't have to re-invent the wheel in order to
However, I wish to point out a couple things which you must also consider.
The organizational steps you mention are valid, but all cost money. Lots of money. We know that the diggers of wild ginseng will drive 100 miles for an extra $5 quote over the phone (regardless of actual prices paid). Therefore, I highly doubt the 'load' will be covered from the wild digger's side of the coin. As it seems, most of the growers like you and I are also diggers. So, I am not certain that added costs with the already unfavorable requirement of less anonymity will work in actual practice.
Next, we have the brokers/exporters. They already have the contacts and the market, and the money. Why would they want to change anything by supporting this venture. I think this might change were a ban of wild come down the pike.
I also want to mention that Wisconsin did something very similar to what you are suggesting. However, I can tell you, their ginseng is in my opinion wildly over priced for its quality. But, they get it sold.
As I said earlier, I have some things in the works, so have considered this long before now.
For now, I think the small non-commercial growers like us are best served by sharing information and trying to fix industry definitions (wild simulated vs woods grown etc), be completely above board legally, and keep a paper trail of your operation if at some point in the future you must prove you planted those seeds.
I\"m not trying to be a party crasher at all. Just my observations of some hurdles that must be overcome by a venture such as the one you suggest.
BCastle- I'm with you on the portions of my post that are unfeasable, and with you on the reasons for it.
I was just brainstorming here on my end. Often, the real-time constraints of the reality test over-ride the possibilities of brainstorming.
I;m fond of saying: Just because someone has an idea doesn't mean it's a good idea! for example, the capital needed for this would be a large amount. You got that much? I could retire nicely if I did...
The brokers and exporters controll everyhing, it seems. They have a large investment in things staying the same. It appearss that their pricing to we growers is kept at the minimum so to maximize their profits.
Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to stifle creativity at all. But there is always someone who will speak up and want the other guys to pay for everything.
The only thing I will add at this point is that I'm really not convinced it is the exporters who are making the biggest money here. They are between the retail broker/buyers and the smaller dealers. They work largely on volume and working the market forces to stay ahead of the downside. Traditionally, retail is always where the largest markups are, but that doesn't always mean largest profits either.
I would contrast this with diggers who invest nothing other than a few bucks in gas and a day or so in the woods making $600/lb or more ...yet complain if they think buyer made more than $40-50. Sort of like pro ball players whining because they only made $12 million and the owner that pays them making $60 or 100 million.
I think our wild sim and woods grown more closely align with wild than commercial root. The similarities are there even though there is no real consensus yet as to the definitions.
I have no dog in the hunt so to speak. I know everybody has to make money. I just want to give a different perspective. If you break the diggers \"profit\" down (using Bcastles' $600 a pound figure) just using my uncle's figures as a generic starting point, In a regular good year he averages a pound a day. He goes about 25 times. So he ends us with around 8 pounds. If the price is $600 a pound then that equals $4800. Then breaking that down even further $4800 divided by 25 days equals about $192 a day. If you break that down even further averaging 8 hours a day in the woods, that equals around $24 an hour. That is still good. But when you figure in the terrain that has to be traversed to do that, it's not all that easy. Not counting the $10 - $15 a day in gas to get to the digging area. Bottom line is it's rough for everyone and everyone wants to maximize their end profit and rightfully so!!!
Whitjr, we are still farming in this manner, and it's worked out great for us. We didn't have to band together with any other farmers because the product we're selling (grass fed meat raised without synthetic hormones or antibiotics) has an existing market that has been defined by previous generations of consumers and farmers. We're selling a differentiated product, but one for which there is a ready customer base. We were the first people fulfilling this market in our local area, but the desire was already in place.
Right now (at least as far as I can tell), there isn't any opportunity to sell differentiated ginseng. I think such a market could exist, but we would have to define and create that market ourselves. We would be the ground floor. That isn't nearly as convenient since it would require education, but it can be very lucrative to be a first-mover in an industry...
However, I think it would be difficult for any one grower to move enough root to \"create\" this market. New ideas need inertia in order to take off, and I just don't see how one person could produce enough root to get the ball rolling.
A state and maybe federal inspection of your operation,
An export permit to move it from one state to the other state,
And to really get an approval from the gov. I think it would have to be listed as woods grown and forget about the wild and wild simulated listing but if you have a good looking product that really resembles the wild characteristics I think it would still bring a premium price.
being a dealer of wild ginseng and not having much experience with woods grown or wild simulated,let me ask what is the basic difference in price per pound,between them and wild.i know the market on pure cultivated but not on the others.thanks
This always starts a rucuss here, but here it is anyway XD
As long as they are grown without fertilizers, and allowed to mature, wild simulated IS for all intents and purposes wild. In fact, I would be very surprised if you have not bought some as wild.
Woodsgrown may have been sown in tilled beds, weeded, and even sprayed for a few years, but by the time it gets to be 10 or more years old, you cannot tell it from wild either. At least that is my experience with my ginseng.
I've seen some woodsgrown that dries boney and hard and has a nasty grey color to it. That stuff is basically trash but if bought at all worth about 30% of wild at most.