Missouri is the nation’s tenth biggest producer of a crop that is exported most of the time. And, the harvest season is only a few days away. It’s a crop that has to be ten years old before it can be harvested for export. Some is cultivated but the best stuff grows wild and it takes a special eye to find it. September 1st is the start of ginseng harvest season in Missouri. State Conservation Department botanist Tim Smith knows some people claim it has beneficial health qualities. It’s regulated under the state wildlife code. Exporting of it is under the federal Fish and Wildlife Service. Leaves are the key to knowing if the root is ten years old. Smith says a four-leaf plant is at least ten years old. Three-leafers are closer to five years old – and the change in the federal export rules say those aren’t old qualify for export. Smith suggests gineseng diggers check with their buyers before they start harvesting – to find out if there’s a market for the roots. Harvest season starts September 1st. It goes through the end of the year.
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