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Ag Notes: Ginseng Workshops, Nickels-for-Know-How Referendum, Storm Damage Help

Ginseng Workshops in September

If you own mature forestland (or a nice wooded backyard) with good soil and drainage, ginseng may be a viable way to produce income from your underutilized woods. Ginseng is a tricky plant to grow successfully and takes between 7-10 years to reach a size favored by the Asian markets to which it is exported. The market for ginseng has averaged over $800 per dried pound over the last few years.

Cooperative Extension will be hosting a series of classes & field demonstrations on wild-simulated ginseng production in September at the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center, 252 Poplar Grove Road. Dr. Jim Hamilton from Cooperative Extension will provide an overview of ginseng production and field demonstration on how to successfully plant wild-simulated ginseng.

Topics will include:

  • Background on ginseng
  • Site selection, soil fertility requirements, & companion plants
  • Site preparation
  • Planting methods
  • Production issues—(pest mitigation & poaching issues)
  • The market for ginseng

September Ginseng Workshops at the Ag Conference Center:

Sept. 7 @ 2 – 3:30 p.m. 20 participants max

Sept. 8 @ 4 – 5:30 p.m. 20 participants max

Wild Simulated Ginseng Production: Classroom Presentation

September 29 6 – 8 p.m. 40 participants max

Cost to attend field and/or classroom workshop is $75.  Participants will receive a starter kit of ½ pound of stratified ginseng seed and a copy of “Growing & Marketing Ginseng and other woodland medicinals”— (a value of over $100). Seed and guidebook supplies are limited to the first 40 total paid registrants. Please call or come by the Watauga County Extension Office to register for workshop sessions. Checks may be made out to Watauga County CES. It is recommended that you send in a soil sample of the area you are thinking about planting and bring your soil report to the workshop.

Additional seed may be available upon request.

This workshop series is made possible through a grant from the North Carolina Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and PHARMN (Preserve Heritage Agriculture & Regional Markets Now…www.pharmn.org)

For more information, contact Dr. Jim Hamilton at the Watauga County Cooperative Extension at 264-3061 or at jim_hamilton@ncsu.edu.


The Watauga County Nickels for Know-How Referendum will be held on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at the Watauga County Extension Office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Watauga County Extension Director Jim Hamilton says that the referendum is being held to let users and produces of feed or fertilizer decide if they wish to continue the self-assessment program.  This program has been in place since 1948, and the law requires that a new referendum be held every six years.

A 2/3 favorable vote will mean that growers are willing to continue to assess themselves to support agricultural research and education.  The assessment is fifteen cents per hundred pounds on feed and fertilizer produced in North Carolina.

The funds, about $1.4 million annually, are collected by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and then allocated by the NC Carolina Agricultural Foundation, Inc.’s 148 volunteer Board of Directors to support agricultural research and extension projects at NC State University benefitting agriculture in North Carolina.

For more information on the referendum please call your County Extension Office at: 828.264.3061.

Farmers Eligible for Damage Assistance From July 8 Straight-Line Wind Storm 

A Straight-Line Wind Storm on July 8, 2016 has caused severe damage (uprooted and downed trees, permanent fence damage and many limbs and branches to clean up on farmland) in several areas of Watauga and Avery County. Farms suffering severe damage may be eligible for assistance under the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) administered by the Watauga/Avery Farm Service Agency.

A producer qualifying for ECP assistance may receive cost-share levels not to exceed 75 percent of the eligible cost of restoration measures. The following types of measures may be eligible:

  • removing debris from farmland
  • restoring permanent fences

Producers who have suffered a loss from this natural disaster may contact the Watauga/Avery FSA County Office and request assistance from Aug. 1 through Aug. 31, 2016. Please contact the Farm Service Agency at 828 264-3850, ext, 2 for more information.