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Post your experiences, questions and answers about growing wild-simulated ginseng

TOPIC: So seriously...who does this for a living...

So seriously...who does this for a living... 12 years 6 months ago #15626

I have a \"career situation\" happening now. I am at a cross roads with empployment, long story and i wont bore you guys with the details.

I have 160 acres of ground and i am considering making a serious run at this whole ginseng thing. My question is the same as the above post's.....who is really doing this here and can it be done as a living...period.

Anybody? Hardings doing it. Who else?

I have the ground albeit mabye not ideal calciumwise, but as woodsgrown i think i can make it workmwith ammendments.

I have the equiptment. Tractors, bobcats, sprayers, tillers, discs....you name it i got it as far as that goes.

I can live where my plots will be, no problem there.

I am a realist, and i understand that 7200 seeds X whatever in the ground does not add up too the amount of seed and roots that the math says so. So what can i expect to have in seeds from an acre planted at 40-60 pounds per acre in 4 years? 10 pounds of seed per pound planted?

Help me guys, Lots of questions and tons of variables.

Bcastle, i know you do it, is this all you do? can it support you? Is it all marketing? RootS? Seeds? What?


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Re:So seriously...who does this for a living... [LONG Answer] 12 years 6 months ago #15627

Your \"sitrep\" sounds like you have the stuff to do it right.

I can't speak for anyone else, however my intention is to retire from my day gig in a few years. I'm getting started in 'sang now, in order to have something a few years after I retire that will pay off and add to my retirement.

It gets me outside, doing something physical, in my deep woods that I love. Should be a good paycheck as well one day eight years from now. As far as I'm concerned, that's a win/win.

You have, however, a real need to see if immediate income is what is needed for you. If that's the case, and you are just getting started, then you may be SOL; due to the longevity of a successful endravor in this. It's just not going to pay off this year or next.

I wish you the best in your decision.

I can tell you this, tho- I wish I had started on this a few years ago, you know, like earlier... I'd be much further along in the project. I don't have regrets is engaging in this. And I have a day gig that pays my bills while I do this.

I also suggust that you get the Scott Persons book. That \"Sang Bible\" will answer a whole group of the Q's you posed. Aside for the knowledge base on the growers here on this forum, it's the best source for data you will likely find. I got mine from Amazon.com, got the newest version, for afound $25.00 shipped.

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Re:So seriously...who does this for a living... [LONG Answer] 12 years 6 months ago #15629

Got the book Whitjr....thanks man. Bout got it worn out.

I am not a dummy on seng, but i for sure am no expert on growing it. I would like to go beyond the weekend warrior approach to this. Again, i understand the variables and as in any buisness venture there will be risks and losses. Which is why i am asking the question. Who is doing it and is it feasible as a full time profession.

For example as one seller proclaims...........10 #'s of seed per # planted after 4 years.......10 #'s of dried root to every # planted in 7 years......do the math. It adds up but what are the REALISTIC expectations if this is my full time job? If i AM available to spray and monitor and pick seeds, etc.

I totally realize that instant income is not in the cards, but here is what im thinking, Buying rootlets to get a decent seed bed goin ASAP for seed production, planting one or two acres per year every year with those seeeds if possible, then selling seeds, leaves each year until harvest in 8-10 years? By then a possible 20 acres in sang with a root harvest evey year? Then follow the sang harvest acerage with a crop of goldenseal mabye? Kind of a perpetualproduction gig i guess.

Please guys, im totally spitballing here. Looking for advice and experience.

Just questions eh? :-)

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Re:So seriously...who does this for a living... [LONG Answer] 12 years 6 months ago #15630

I bet everyone on this board has had that dream. I'm no expert, far from it in fact, but I think the numbers you are using more closely fit a field grown setup. In order to get the best prices for your roots, one would need to have \"wild simulated\" seng. My own personal \"guess\" about the numbers would be:

~25% of seeds planted live to be harvested at 7-10 years. (Probably a little high on the percent)

~300 7-10 year plants to make a pound. (Maybe a little high as well)

60-90 seeds per plant after 4-5 years.

With that math: ~17lbs of seed planted wild simulated would = 100lbs of roots in 7-10 years. If the average price of root is $500, then you would have $50,000 dollars, plus several pounds of seed to sell.

Again just my 2 cents worth. I'm sure most everyone here has their own estimates. It will be interesting to see what everyone has to say about my numbers.

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Re:So seriously...who does this for a living... [LONG Answer] 12 years 6 months ago #15631

Many are going to say don't give up your daytime job. I am saying limit your risk as much as possible. Proceed with caution. Realize that many things are going to go wrong. Count on the worst case scenario and run those numbers on your forecast and not the best case scenario projections. Ask yourself if you have a means to survive if things go wrong or do not turn out as well as expected. Realize that many experts are saying things are going to change with ginseng laws especially pertaining to ginseng being placed on the endangered list. And realize that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

Now with all that said if you still think the potential reward out weighs the risk I SAY GO FOR IT!!!!! It sounds like you have the passion and desire to make this work. I bet you think about it all the time. Wish you were already farther along now than you are. Wish you were clearing brush, marking plots, getting your hands in the soil daily, planting seeds, digging roots and running your own ginseng farm. Wow I wonder how I know that. lol

There will be many sacrifices that you will make to make this work. However, if you enjoy something is it really work.

If I knew then what I know now, I too would have done it 20 years ago. I am 50 now and I still think about having my own farm every second of every day.

Those that don't try the impossible are not able to fail. However, no one that has made it achieved success without taking chances. There is no luck, we create our own luck.

Never base your numbers or forecast on making a profit from growing your own seed. If you get seed money then that's just bonus money. However, on a decent size planting you will get hundreds of pounds of seed per acre if all goes well after 4 years if you spray. However, you will not get many seeds at all until the 7th year if you go natural. And that is still a hit or miss.

7 lbs of dry root is what most say you will get per 1 lb of seed planted. I think if you spray you will get more than that. However, if I were forecasting I would use 4 lbs of roots per 1 lb of seed planted as my base number. If the numbers still work then that conservative number will help to ensure your farm is profitable.

I hope you are able to make the right choice for what makes you happy. Life is short and those who do what they like to do for a living have already achieved success.

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Re:So seriously...who does this for a living... [LONG Answer] 12 years 6 months ago #15634


I wouldn't ever suggest anyone put all their eggs into the same basket. Certainly not with ginseng. I would suggest that you look for ginseng as one of a number of things that you can do and from which can gain some income. I can't live on ginseng alone, but I can't live on just being a cop either.

Depending on where you are in the state, I might be able to help you more or less. But, I'll be happy to help you all I can.

I\"ve not read the whole thread yet, so may have more comments here in a moment.

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Re:So seriously...who does this for a living... 12 years 6 months ago #15636


The kind of operation you're talking about would be hugh.

My advice would be go to a large scale ginseng farm and get the real low down.


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Re:So seriously...who does this for a living... 12 years 6 months ago #15637

I have a great job, pays well, excellent benefits, and get to work from a home office.

My wife works as a Radiation therapist at a nearby Hospital (2-3 days a week) and makes good money. They would like for her to go full time, but she does not want to and we don't really need for her too, we have two children and like to keep mom home with them a lot too.

Right now I am just planting 3-4 pounds of seed each fall.

Planted 4 lbs Fall 2010
Planted 3 lbs so far Fall 2011

In Scotts book it says you should harvest around 7 lbs dry seng for every pound of seed planted (in good locations).

I plan to retire in 13 years or so (currently 50, plan to retire at 63.5).

Right now I am just looking to this ginseng planting to provide a little extra income in retirement (diversifying my income options), and I would be perfectly happy if I could just collect enough dry root then to pay for a nice annual vacation and perpahs a little more.

Now as I start to wind down my job, I may go from full time to part time and if still healthy then I may get more serious about planting more seng.

I have 230 acres (that I own) that has wild seng on it, and I could plant a lot more than I am currently planting yearly. If I got real serious about it, could plant a lot if I wanted.

Right now my good paying job, with great benefits, keeps me from doing any more on the ginseng planting side.

If that were to change and I no longer had that job and benefits, It would sure push me towards doing a lot more on the ginseng side.

Can't really offer you any real experienced advice but the Bible does say in proverbs that he who sews sparingly will reap sparingly, he who sews generously will reap generously.

Now with ginseng that is sure going to depend a lot on the location, soil, disease possibilities, poachers, etc (you know all of those got-y's).

I do hope all the best for you and good luck with your decision.


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Re:So seriously...who does this for a living... 12 years 6 months ago #15638

Thanks for all the replies.

As you all have suggested, i am creating a plan and have been jotting some things onto paper.

I am looking at everything from 3 viewpoints.

1. 100% return on every seed planted....lol....math only, including estimated costs for spraying, fuel, etc.
2. 50% return
3. 25% return.

I agree on the diversification. Ginseng will not be the only thing going on the farm. Actually looking at mushrooms and even aquaculture.

I will share more later, at work now, the main thing i am looking for is what the realistic returns are for woodsgrown average.


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Re:So seriously...who does this for a living... 12 years 6 months ago #15639

There is a difference between a living, and a damn good one. Myself, I want a damn good one. I would say you could count on one hand the people who are growing in the terms you speak, maybe less. It would definately be a seven year minimum before harvest. For it to be farmed correctly and profitably rather than leaving it all to chance then it takes alot of work just like any other agricultural crop. In my opinion I would say one need to invest about $2,000 per year not including maintenance labor or other materials necessary to keep a crop healthy in the meantime. By the end of the sixth year your costs would increase alot and still no income. No one can really say except for a seed salesman and the sky is the limit to hear them tell it. One can only hope for the best and be diligent enough to see it through till the end to know for certain. If it was a sure thing with solid numbers then you could pick a phamplet up one at your local extention offices and then everyone would do it. I understand your frustration because I have dealt with it before myself but... You either dive in the possible shallow end or walk away from the edge.


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