Special Forest Products
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Margaret Thomas
Posted on: December 20, 1999

Sounds like you are doing what you enjoy!

You are focusing on herbs, I guess. Is the reprint of "The Potential of Herbs..." really new and revised? I have the original; how does the reprinted version differ? You mentioned Forest Farming - are you doing a book or did you just mean that a book like that is needed?

Your web site mentions "organized profit-sharing marketing cooperatives that have been developed in more than 28 states, many with their own newsletters." How would I get a list of those?

Here are the categories of special forest products I am interested in:

1.Floral and decorative products (including cut greens and products used in arts and crafts).

2.Horticultural products (sold for transplants and landscaping).

3.Medicinal, herbal and aromatic products.

4.Other edible products (primarily seeds, nuts, berries, and mushrooms).

5.Other products (may include multi-product enterprises, small wood products, industrial resins and derived products, honey and bees, recreation and educational products, spiritual products, or products used for subsistence by harvesters).

I am collecting technical assistance materials that would help a rural entrepreneur, either someone interested in growing or gathering.

The main web sites I have located that deal generically with all special forest products are:

1) the Special Forest Products web site that the Virginia Tech Department of Wood Science and Forest Products, the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station and the Top of the Ozarks Resource Conservation and Development District (RC&D) in Missouri have developed (intended to be a national clearinghouse of information for harvesters and growers, marketers, processors and end users of special forest products) at http://www.sfp.forprod.vt.edu;

2) the National Assessment on Non-Timber Forest Products web site (aimed specifically at building a large range of databases for scientists, policy makers, and resource managers) at http://www.ifcae.org/ntfp/; and the NTFP - Biocultural-Digest which is a free internet mailing list is to promote the advancement of knowledge about human dimensions of worldwide NTFP use at http://www.anthrotech.com/ice/ntfp/digest/

What I need right now is help in identifying web sites for all the above categories (like the Richters site in the #3 category) that would help growers and gathers in business planning and marketing. If I bought a few (2-3) hours of your time to search around do you think you could come up with much? Are you interested?

Let me know what you could do without investing too much time - Thanks!

Yes, while my focus is on "botanicals" (herbs and spices), I do also market other forest products (including Black Walnut slabs, Burl, and Mushrooms). In the cultivation arena, I include Blue-Green Algaes, Ergots, and Oil Seed crops. I also market some Cottage Industry products, like Dried Florals, Bird Houses, and Wreaths.

Acres, USA, reprinted "The Potential Of Herbs As A Cash Crop". This means that my buyer addresses (6 pages) and farm-gate pricing (4 page) to the farm have been updated to 1998 standards. "Forest Farming" is now "in press" with a major publisher, due out in early May, 2000. Marketing co-operatives mentioned include now-defunct Trinity Alps Botanicals.

The reason I keep these to myself (for the most part) is because they represent my sources of supply. I’m in correspondence with such entities as Sask. Herb and Spice Association and B.C. Herb Growers Association. There are many of these different groups now, all seeking the next level of information. This is what I do as an outside consultant.

$150 will buy you up to 3 hours of my time, including some Internet sleuthing for you. I’m pretty resourceful, so I think it would show you why you might want to increase my hours and rates (Please feel free... ha ha). Do you want this info in a database (MS Access), or something more "front-end," like MS Outlook.

Some specific examples of what you "really want" might help best. For example, there are mushroom growers, mushroom buyers, mushroom processors, and end- users (in each Country). How is the database going to be used? A basic form needs to be constructed.

I would be remiss to not mention the fact that I have written a USDA-SBIR format grant for an electronic BBS for herb marketing (national). No one has seen or reviewed it yet, although this is what might make the most sense in the way these commodities might be best managed. Auction sites might work very well for some types of crops.



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