Growing the world’s ginseng supply
The Ginseng Board of Wisconsin was founded in 1986 as a nonprofit organization to represent the interests of the nearly 200 ginseng growers in the state. Today, ginseng is an important industry for Wisconsin, as the state produces about 95 percent of the nation’s ginseng supply. However, growing ginseng is not without its challenges. The board helps Wisconsin growers navigate these issues, which include permitting for the endangered species list, planning for extended planting timelines, harvesting challenges and more. Since ginseng is used for a variety of purposes around the world, such as medicinal applications, energy drinks and other food uses, the board set out to take advantage of growing target markets both domestically and internationally. One such region with a sizeable demand for ginseng is China, which led the board to develop a proactive strategy for reaching that country's markets.
Tapping into worldwide ginseng demand
Chinese markets have evolved into the board’s number one priority for international markets—due in large part to the country’s substantial use of the plant for medicinal and food purposes. To build stronger ties and lasting relationships with new distributors and customers in China, the board sent representatives on a trade venture to the country in January 2016. While there, they met with numerous companies interested in utilizing Wisconsin ginseng. These meetings were prearranged with guidance from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s international business development team. The trade venture led to new partnerships and ongoing relationships with many of the companies they met. Going forward, China will remain the board’s top export priority, but the group continues to explore new markets around the world.