MADISON, Wis. -- Today, Governor Scott Walker signed a bill authored by Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and Representative John Spiros (R-Marshfield) that designates ginseng as the state herb of Wisconsin.
“Ginseng is an especially important industry in my district and I am pleased to see the crop receiving some statewide recognition,” said Senator Petrowski. “Wisconsin ginseng connects our state with consumers on the other side of the world and is wonderful for the economy in central Wisconsin.”
Included in picture: Richard Barrett, Lisa Berry, Jackie Fett, Loxi Hack, Tom Hack, Paul C. Hsu, Will Hsu, Bob Kaldunski, Carol Kaldunski, Kelsey Kleist, Meagan Matthews, Senator Petrowski, John Small, Representative Spiros, Governor Walker, Toufue Xiong, Harry Yeh
Wisconsin is home to the most concentrated, highest-quality ginseng in the world and leads the United States in the production of ginseng, accounting for about 90 to 95 percent of total ginseng production. There are over 180 ginseng growers in central Wisconsin, bringing in millions of dollars into the Marathon County economy each year. In fact, the Department of Agriculture Trade, and Consumer Protection reports cultivated ginseng generates up to $20 million annually in gross income statewide.
“This law will shine a spotlight on the Wisconsin ginseng market,” said Representative Spiros. “I am excited to author this bill and see it signed into law, especially so soon after the 1st Annual Wisconsin International Ginseng Festival, which was held in Wausau this past fall.”
The rolling hills, virgin soil, and cool summers give Wisconsin farmers the unique opportunity to grow some of the best ginseng in the world. After 4-5 years of maturing, the ginseng roots are harvested in October and can be used in a variety of products including: health and beauty products, teas, beverages, candies and much more. In 2013, a study done by the Mayo Clinic showed that Wisconsin ginseng was helpful in counteracting fatigue in cancer patients.
“We appreciate Senator Petrowski and Representative Spiros for their work on this bill and their continued efforts to boost agriculture in central Wisconsin,” said Will Hsu from Hsu’s Ginseng Enterprises Inc. in Wausau. “We are hopeful the new law will bring more attention to this specialty crop with numerous health benefits.”