Ginseng producers excited about new multi-million dollar export - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Ginseng producers excited about new multi-million dollar export deal

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

A new $200 million deal will keep Wisconsin's ginseng producers busy over the next ten years.

"I think in the 100 plus years of the industry, it's probably the most significant thing that has happened to to us," said Ginseng Board of Wisconsin International Marketing Director, Butch Weege.

Weege said the deal will increase exports by 30,000 pounds a year.

Wisconsin produces about 90 percent of the U.S. crop and it's mostly grown in Marathon County.

"It's brought stability to the market and increased pricing for our product, the likes of which our industry hasn't seen before," said Weege.

The contract came together as part of Governor Walker's trade mission to China last month.

Ginseng is a popular health and medical product in southeast Asia.

Weege said the new contract is a big deal.

"85 percent of our crops that we raise in the state is exported to southeast Asia," said Weege.

Hsu's Ginseng Enterprises in Wausau is one of more than 140 producers in the state.

Will Hsu, the company's Vice President of Operations, went to China hoping to grow his exports.

"We need to find ways to innovate that adds value for the consumer and also drives demand for our product," said Hsu.

Hsu said his family's four-decade-old company now exports more than 100,000 pounds of ginseng each year.

He said the new deal will increase that.

"There's going to be a lot more demand for our product from buyers whether they be retailers or from consumers," said Hsu.

Ginseng board leaders said by the end of the deal, more than 500,000 pounds of ginseng will be exported, only reinforcing confidence in the growing industry.

Leaders said the deal will start on September 1.

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