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Decreased ginseng harvest during pandemic not cause for concern yet, according to DNR

Adam Pinsker

Last year’s harvest of Indiana ginseng weighed in at just over 2,500 pounds – a drop from more than 3,500 pounds in 2019 and 3,600 pounds in 2018.

That’s according to records kept by the Indiana DNR’s Ginseng Coordinator Laura Minzes, who said the market for Indiana’s ginseng got off to a slow start during the pandemic.

“The price fluctuates, especially with COVID right now,” she said.

The ginseng harvest season starts September 1 and ends in March. Minzes said at the start of last season, the root was going for $3.50 per pound. By the end of season, it was selling for $6.50 per pound. Minzes expects it to get off to a stronger start this year

“Actually I expect it to be less influenced than it was last year. I expect the market to be a little more steady from the get-go, whereas last year was way more tentative.”

She said the Indiana DNR enforces a harvest season and other regulations to protect its wild crop of ginseng from going extinct. She adds that the smaller recent harvest does not indicate that Indiana’s ginseng is decreasing. 

“If we have two or three more years where we have an issue of you know, at 2,500 lb or less I will be looking at it closer” Minzes said.