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Home  > Question of the Week

Question of the Week

Permalink What information can you give me on markets for ginseng and goldenseal?



Answer: Thank you for contacting ATTRA for information on current markets for ginseng and goldenseal.

First, see ATTRA's publication Ginseng, Goldenseal, and Other Native Roots as it contains helpful production information.

Also, please note that the American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) are listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an international treaty designed to control and regulate international trade in certain animal and plant species. As such, all exports of ginseng and goldenseal require an export permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

In addition, 19 states, including Kentucky, where ginseng naturally occurs, have established a certification program for ginseng as required by the FWS. These 19 states regulate and monitor the harvest of ginseng, whether wild or cultivated, within their borders. All ginseng dealers and ginseng growers are required to register with the appropriate regulatory agency in their state. The role of the FWS is to ensure that exports of ginseng and goldenseal are legal and not detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild. The FWS website provides information about ginseng.

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) provides information to
encourage people who harvest wild American ginseng to do so in a way that is sustainable. They offer state-specific information about regulations and excellent general information to help harvesters understand the plant and its life cycle and how to ensure survival of the wild ginseng populations. You may download a brochure for your state on the AHPA website.

Because you are located in Kentucky, you should be sure to view the Kentucky Department of Agriculture ginseng page. There is a link on this page to Kentucky dealers operating in 2009-2010. Also, if you scroll down, underneath the Downloads header, you will see a link titled, "Links to Other Information." This page contains links to other states' ginseng programs and to the wildcrafting profiles from University of Kentucky.

Dr. Jeanine Davis, North Carolina State University, has done extensive research and is a valuable resource on growing and marketing medicinal herbs and non-timber forest products. Her website offers a lot of information about production and marketing of these plants. More details are available in Davis's recent book and in NC Extension publications and Web pages referenced below. Dr. Davis is the foremost U.S. expert on goldenseal production. Consult for information on current markets.

1. Persons, W. Scott, and Jeanine M. Davis. 2005. Growing & Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal & Other Woodland Medicinals.

Bright Mountain Books, Fairview, NC. 466 p.

Available for purchase on

2. Greenfield, Jacqui, and Jeanine M. Davis. 2003. Collection to Commerce: Western North Carolina Non-Timber Forest Products and Their Markets.

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. 112 p.
Available in PDF for download (warning: large file size).

3. Davis, Dr. Jeanine. 2010.

4.  Permalink


Permalink What information can you give me on natural or organic methods for controlling parasites in my laying hens?


West Virginia

Answer: Thank you for your request to ATTRA for information regarding the control of worms in your poultry flock. Worms are a common problem in flocks, and healthy birds often live harmoniously with low levels of worms. Proactive methods are important in keeping your flock healthy when drugs are not allowed or deemed inappropriate-in the case of selling eggs. These methods would include ensuring the flock is getting a complete and healthy diet so that their immune system can function properly, and rotating the pasture or yards that the flock occupies (or keeping them away from newly shed worm eggs in their feces). Are you providing your hens with a calcium source? Oyster shells or another calcium source should be fed to ensure the hens are not depleting their body calcium levels to produce egg shells. This is part of making a complete diet for the birds. The life-cycle of the worms make the management of the birds' environment very important in controlling the worms. Worm eggs are picked up in the environment by the birds from feces on the ground or indirectly through bugs that have ingested the eggs. Once in the intestine, they hatch and as adults lay eggs which are then exited the bird's body through feces and the cycle starts again. Rotating pasture or keeping birds away from their manure can help break this cycle. It is also important to keep the environment dry (this can be done in the hen house by continuously adding bedding or cleaning out wet litter). The eggs embryonate outside the bird's body and need moist conditions to do so.

It may be interesting to know how heavy the worm load was in the fecal sample. If the load was low enough for the bird to handle then it is not wise to use a de-wormer. This is because a healthy hen can live with low levels of worms, and a de-wormer will just result in creating resistant strains to the particular de-wormer. Observe your flock and look for symptoms of stress from a high load of worms (lethargic, thin, droopy posture, abnormal feces, even death). Unfortunately all worm treatments available require a withdrawal period since traces of the dewormer are found in the eggs. But there are some natural treatments that may help.

While there is no scientific data stating that diatomaceous earth helps against worms, many producers use it for this purpose. Other natural treatments include herbs and garlic like you mentioned. Apple cider vinegar is used but is often thought of as a preventative instead of a treatment. I think you will find the following link extremely helpful in the area of natural treatments for your flock. It will take you to Karma Glos's Remedies for Health Problems of the Organic Laying Flock: Page 56 describes treatments for internal parasites.

Also, Alanna Moore lists some anti-worm herbs in her book Backyard Poultry Naturally: leaves of horseradish, garlic, elder, cotton-lavender, rue (fresh or dried in small amounts), hyssop, goat's rue, bramble, Pacific coral tree and white cedar. Onions. Grated or cooked carrot. Wormwood tips, or dried and powdered flowering wormwood tops. Tansy flowers and seeds. Mustard and pumpkin seeds.
When working with flocks of different ages it will be important to tend to the younger birds first. This will prevent spreading anything the older birds have to the younger birds whose immune system is still developing.



Permalink What are some resources for information on draft horse implements?



Answer: Thank you for your recent request for information from ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. I am pleased to provide you with information on agricultural implements for use with draft horses.

The following online books have a wealth of information on horse drawn farm implements. In addition, the ATTRA publication Draft Animal Power for Farming has a section on equipment and links to further resources including equipment suppliers.

Starkey, Paul. 1989. Harnessing and Implements for Animal Traction: An Animal Traction Resource Book for Africa. A Publication of the Deutsches Zentrum für Entwicklungstechnologien - GATE in: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ)

A stimulating and fresh approach to combine a detailed understanding of the practical problems encountered in the field with a comprehensive review of published information. Includes some common harnessing systems, the selection of equipment, implements commonly used for crop production, equipment for transport, and draft assessment and work rates. Written for Africa, but useful for other areas as well.

Thompson, John. 1979. Horse Drawn Implements: Part II, Preparing the Soil. Hampshire, UK: J. Thompson.

A selection of engravings and contemporary descriptions of cultivators, horse-hoes, rollers, and harrows, reproduced from 19th century agricultural books and manufacturers catalogues.

Fischer, Ren. 1995. Permanent Farming Systems Based on Animal Traction: Farmers Handbook. Deutsches Zentrum fr Entwicklungstechnologien.

The first version, the WADA Oxfarmers' Handbook, was produced in 1982 as a guide for the basic training of farmers of the North West Province of Cameroon, in the use of oxen. The Oxen Project was initiated by Wum Area Development Authority, WADA. Over the years, the focus of the project changed from introducing the use of draft animals to encouraging the development of permanent farming systems employing draft animals and the project name changed to Promotion of Adapted Farming Systems based on Animal Traction, PAFSAT. Consequently Handbook Parts dealing with crops, soil, the permanent farming system, vegetables and farm management were added and amended in the subsequent editions.



Permalink What are some resources that can help me decide how many seeds I should buy based on the number of CSA shares?



Answer: Thank you for contacting ATTRA for information on how to calculate the amount of seeds to buy based on the number of CSA shares. I have listed several resources below, each of which I would encourage you to explore before selecting whichever tools best fit your needs. First of all, there are a couple of ATTRA publication you may enjoy related to this topic:

In addition, "Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors" from The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems contains planning exercises for farmers (even though it was written for instructors). See the section on CSA Crop Planning. This chapter walks you through the process step by step (see summarized steps below), so that by the end you know how many seeds you need to buy to meet your production goals. It also has examples, tables and worksheets in the appendices.

EXERCISE STEPS (from "Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors")
1. Determine your harvest outcome goals for each crop
2. Calculate numbers of plants per sowing needed to meet harvest goals.
3. Determine the specific dates for the sowings throughout the entire season that are needed to achieve the harvest goals you have established for each crop.
4. Calculate the number of sowings needed per season to meet specific harvest goals.
5. Calculate amount and cost of seed needed to complete the sowings for each crop.

A few other resources you may find useful are the following:



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