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Ginseng growers urged to operate within the law

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List of licensed dealers available online at www.kyagr.com

By The Staff

Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer urges ginseng dealers and sellers to operate within the laws governing the sales of ginseng roots.

“The ginseng trade can be both profitable and sustainable, but only if everyone follows the rules,” Commissioner Farmer said. “I encourage dealers to watch for roots that are not legal to sell. Harvesters should keep in mind that they may sell only to dealers that are licensed in the state.”

A list of licensed ginseng dealers in Kentucky is available by going to www.kyagr.com, clicking on Programs and clicking on Ginseng.

Ginseng roots must be five years old and have three prongs to be sold under federal law. Harvesting on state property is not allowed. Harvesting on federal property is not allowed except for the Daniel Boone National Forest, for which the harvester must obtain a permit from a local forest ranger.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reported that more than 57 pounds of ginseng were stolen from the home of a dealer in southwestern Virginia Sept. 11 or 12. The forest service has advised dealers to be watchful of someone (particularly if he or she is not familiar to the dealer) selling large quantities of roots or asking questions about the dealer’s volume of sales. The forest service asks that suspicious sales be reported to local law enforcement.

Digging of wild ginseng is permitted through Dec. 1. The ginseng buying season will end March 31, 2010.