I emailed a contact at the State of TN and asked a few questions to find out what all a TN seng digger would have to do to sell out of State. Below are cuts from the email between me and David Lincicome with the State.
TNhunter - I see on the website that to sell ginseng out of state you must have a ginseng dealers license (currently cost 250.00 annually) and that the ginseng would have to be certified.
David Lincicome - Yes, if you plan to export ginseng out of the state and/or you buy ginseng to sell to another person in-state then you need a dealer license.
TNhunter - Can you tell me about that certification process please ?
David Lincicome - Ginseng that has been harvested within Tennessee can be taken to one of our State Parks and a Park Ranger will conduct the certification (type of ginseng and weight) and complete an Export Certificate form. Once the form is complete the ginseng can then be exported outside of Tennessee. Without this form Tennessee ginseng can not leave the state. Also during the certification a one pound sample of the ginseng is counted to determine the number of roots per pound. You must have a dealer license to obtain an export certificate.
TNhunter - What does the certification cost ?
David Lincicome - There is no cost for the certification.
TNhunter - he gave me a couple of example State Parks where park rangers could certify as David Crocket Park and Mousetail Landing and I am sure there are many more out there.
Below is the contact if you have more questions.
Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation
Bureau of Parks
Resource Management Division
Natural and Cultural Heritage Section
401 Church St., 7th Floor L&C Annex
Nashville, TN 37243-0447
Phone: (615) 532-0439
Fax: (615) 532-3019
TNhunter, I called the Indiana Department of Natural Resources about this very topic early last week. I could tell the gentleman I spoke with on the phone wasn't very enthusisatic about selling on Ebay. He did say the same thing your contact did. You need to have a dealers license here, and you do have to have your ginseng certified. The guy really tried to discourage this practice. I guess they have had trouble with people just throwing it on Ebay without any paperwork or documentation. I think he also frowned on selling on Ebay, even if it was properly done, because it would encourage even more people to do it, and most wouldn't take the steps necessary for it to be legal.
I can say from selling on ebay for over 10 yrs.(taxidermy mounts). It would not take much to flood the ebay market with wild seng, which would make it so very few would gets the high prices that you are looking for. The first few that can list their roots each year will be the ones that get higher than average prices and make off like bandits. Or the ones that can list their roots perhaps in the summer months when perhaps the ebay market is not flooded with roots to buy, you might get higher prices.
It boils down to, the more auctions that are listed, the lower the overall price will be. Unless you have some unusually unique roots. So don't count on it as a sure way to sell your roots. Infact I have seen some nice wild roots that sold on ebay for less than what the market is paying.
I noticed that as well classicfur. Looks like now it wouldn't be worth the hassle. Not for sure but I bet out of season when the seng is gone it might bring better without it being flooded with others tryin to sell as well but then again it might not lol. I think i'll just offload mine same as always.
It looked like the ones that were selling for the highest price were the fresh roots. So if you held over roots that were dry they still may not do great on ebay.
There must be something special about fresh roots, aleast to a few people that are buying off ebay, to pay those high prices we saw recently.
I think the best bet would be to try listing fresh roots at the beginning of the season. These people that pay that kind of money, are probably just waiting all year long to gobble up those first Nice Fresh Roots of the season listed on ebay.
Don't get me wrong cause I enjoy Sengin and the market for it is what makes it possible but it is kinda unbelievable what others pay for somethin that we all can run out to the woods and dig up. Iv never used it much myself cause everytime I chew on a piece im thinkin what it's worth:cheer:
Hey Guys - thanks for chiming in with some good thoughts on the ebay selling. Not sure I will ever actually do that but was interested in what had to be done if I ever wanted to.
What a guy could do is fix up a nice bed to plant roots in and each time you dig seng, check over the batch and see if you have some exceptional roots, nice shape, long necks, older roots (like those that sold very high the other day) and plant those in your prepaired bed to store them.
Then the next summer, or very early in the seng season, or a while after all of the green roots have sold, you could collect those nice roots and sell them fresh.
You could basically pick the time you wanted to sell and do so when you had the best chance of getting much more than normal price for it.
A nice wild root planted in a cultivated bed is not going to change drastically, may not change at all, may just get bigger and better.
You could provide pics of the plants growing in your nice woods bed, show pics of digging them up, and then what they look like after washing. Not sure if you can post a link to a youtube vid when selling on ebay but if you could that would be nice for the buyers to see too.
Those who want fresh roots might just go all out bidding to get your nice fresh special roots.