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'A huge honor': Ginseng farmer puts global spotlight on Badger State business

must courtesy this photo Natalie Helen Photography.jpg
Posted at 5:03 AM, Oct 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-05 10:19:52-04

WAUSAU, Wis. -- You may not realize it, but Wisconsin is in the Goldilocks zone for growing ginseng.

Will Hsu with the Hsu Ginseng Farm says most ginseng thrives in the 43 to 45 degree latitude zone. That's from about Milwaukee to Wausau.

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His ginseng grown in Wausau is largely exported overseas, meaning big business for the Badger State.

The efforts of one Wisconsin farmer has captured the attention of international leaders.

We saw the full-circle moment for Hsu's family. They welcomed a Taiwan ambassador to their second-generation ginseng farm in Wausau.

"It was a reverse homecoming. My dad left Taiwan over 50 years ago," said Hsu, adding it was "a huge honor."

must courtesy this photo Natalie Helen Photography.jpg
Natalie Helen Photography

Hsu shared the importance of ginseng to Asia. "Taiwanese and Chinese people - they cook with it every day. They make ginseng tea. It's a medicinal herb in Chinese medicine," he said.

Hsu also spoke with Gov. Tony Evers about supporting one of the largest cash crops in our state. "I told him when I was growing up 30 years ago, there were 1,000 ginseng farms in Wisconsin. Today there's fewer than 170 of us," he said. "I think he cares and he's concerned for it."

"The trade war with China is not improving. If we don't find additional export markets outside of China, a lot of farmers that rely on China as a customer are going to struggle," said Hsu.

Hsu hopes Wisconsin leaders will keep a world-view to grow our economy. "You can't have local government thinking everyone buys and sells goods within a hundred-mile radius of Wausau. That's not how our economies work.

Gov. Evers made remarks during the Sept. 30 visit, saying during his speech that "We believe that the relationship with Taiwan is now mature enough to strengthen our trade and investment ties for the mutual benefit for all of our people."

Hsu agreed, saying,"It's literally an injection of foreign money into the state economy."

Click here to learn more about products from the Hsu Ginseng Farm.

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