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60-plus enthusiasts gather at MTSU to discuss gins...

60-plus enthusiasts gather at MTSU to discuss ginseng’s future

Growers, buyers and sellers of ginseng came from Roan Mountain in upper East Tennessee to Perry County at the eastern edge of West Tennessee and from all parts in between.

They attended the inaugural one-day Tennessee Ginseng Growers Meeting held at Middle Tennessee State Universityand co-hosted by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the MTSU School of Agribusiness and Agriscience.

MTSU researcher Iris Gao tells an audience of ginseng growers and sellers how the university will help farmers become more productive during the inaugural Tennessee Ginseng Growers Meeting, held May 4 in the university's Science Building. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

MTSU researcher Iris Gao tells an audience of ginseng growers and sellers how the university will help farmers become more productive during the inaugural Tennessee Ginseng Growers Meeting, held May 4 in the university’s Science Building. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

Led by a group that included MTSU faculty, TDEC ginseng coordinator Andrea Bishop and MTSU alumnus Paul Martin Jr. , the gathering helped growers, buyers and sellers learn where the industry is heading.

“I was very happy to see so many partners from all over Tennessee,” said Dr. Iris Gao, an associate professor in agribusiness and agriscience and researcher with the Tennessee Center for Botanical Medicine Research.

Gao said a survey given to the more than 60 registered attendees “will give us a better idea of the current situation of cultivation of ginseng in Tennessee. … Nobody has this kind of information, and I wish we could do more for the farmers.”

She also discussed how MTSU will help farmers grow wild-simulated ginseng and research advances in growing techniques.

Martin, who is chief managing member of Clarity Resources LLC, said after speaking to the group that the “urbanization crush of the farmland drives the need for additional revenue sources on the land.”

MTSU alumnus and Murfreesboro businessman Paul Martin Jr. explains the economic implications of ginseng May 4 during the inaugural Tennessee Ginseng Growers Meeting in the Science Building. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

MTSU alumnus and Murfreesboro businessman Paul Martin Jr. explains the economic implications of ginseng May 4 during the inaugural Tennessee Ginseng Growers Meeting in the Science Building. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

Martin said he will be joining MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, who helped welcome the group earlier in the day, and others on an upcoming trip to China, where major announcements regarding ginseng are expected. He also assured attendees that the travelers will be paying their own expenses and not using state funding.

Caleb Trivett, a Carter County, Tennessee, ginseng dealer who also teaches foraging. “I have access to the finest ginseng strains — big and small — in the state.”

MTSU plant and soil science professors Nate Phillips and Justin Gardner and visiting scholar Yuhang Guo, a lecturer at the Guangxi University of Chinese Medicine, also made presentations.

Gao said the group’s next meeting will be held this fall, late August or early September, during the harvest and planting season. For more information, call 615-898-2430.

MTSU has more than 240 combined undergraduate and graduate programs. The School of Agribusiness and Agriscience is one of 11 College of Basic and Applied Sciences departments.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee addresses ginseng meeting at MTSU.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee welcomes more than 60 people attending the first Tennessee Ginseng Growers Meeting May 4 in the Science Building. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

MTSU visiting scholar Yuhang Guo, a Guangxi University of Chinese Medicine lecturer, discusses the history, traditional use and Asia market of Tennessee ginseng May 4 during the inaugural Tennessee Ginseng Growers Meeting in MTSU’s Science Building. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

MTSU visiting scholar Yuhang Guo, a Guangxi University of Chinese Medicine lecturer, discusses the history, traditional use and Asia market of Tennessee ginseng May 4 during the inaugural Tennessee Ginseng Growers Meeting in MTSU’s Science Building. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)


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