This week Sen. Richard Young (D-Milltown) recorded an audio update from the Senate on a bill he has authored Senate Bill 498 which would require a person to be be licensed in order to grow, harvest or deal ginseng.The bill would also compel the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to establish a harvest season for ginseng. The possession of wild ginseng by a grower, harvester or dealer at any time except the harvest season would be prohibited. Additionally, in accordance with SB 498, ginseng growers would be required to provide the DNR with an annual summary of their cultivated ginseng harvest. Wild ginseng grows naturally in Indiana and is increasingly endangered due to demand and the high market value of the plant’s roots.
LISTEN to Sen. Young’s update:
Transcript of Sen. Young’s comments:
I have authored legislation this session that will help to clarify Indiana’s laws pertaining to ginseng. Ginseng is a wild root that is used in Asian cultures in traditional medicines. Indiana is the third largest exporter of ginseng in the U.S. In 2007, ginseng sold for about 800 dollars per pound. The price fell to 300 dollars in 2008 and is now about 430 per pound.
Ginseng can be farmed in private plantings, and it takes about 5 to 7 years for ginseng to be ready for harvest. However, wild ginseng has a higher value than cultivated ginseng. According to the Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, poaching of ginseng reduces the amount of re-growth that takes place.
Senate bill 498 will help to strengthen the laws that govern the harvesting and buying of ginseng, and provide greater accountability for those who harvest and sell ginseng. Passage of this bill is also necessary to comply with international treaties that require verification that ginseng is a sustainable product. The legislation is eligible for final review in the senate. Upon passage, the bill will advance to the House of Representatives for its consideration.