Catnip Tops in Kansas
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Jeff
Posted on: September 3, 2000

I live in Kansas and have catnip growing wild on my small acerage. I have been looking into raising this as a crop. I have researched and found several potential buyers for the 2001 crop, but I am completly new to this and full of questions.

I have one possible buyer that wants to purchase just the tops while they are in bloom. They have offered $16.00 [U.S.] a pound, but stated that if that is not enough to tell them what I need. Could you tell me, is that somewhere around the going price?

As of July 2000, prices for dried catnip ranged from $2.15 to $12 U.S. a pound for organic product between 25 and 500 pounds. For non-organic product the prices ranged from $1.75 to $7 a pound, and for large quantities over 500 pounds, the prices ranged from $1.50 to $3 a pound. These prices are for the "herb" which generally means the whole above-ground part of the plant, including the stem. For flowering tops you can expect a higher price, but there is no price established.

The $16 a pound you have been offered appears to be a good price, but that depends on how much is being contracted for. If it is a small amount (say under 100 pounds) which is processed by hand, then even $16 is not enough to cover your costs.

Do you have a publication that I could purchase to assist me? I was also wondering what the possible cost of production per acre might be and what amount I could hope for.

The transcripts for the Richters Fourth Commercial Herb Growing Conference will feature an lecture by Rene Soberg on catnip production. The transcripts will be available in October 2000. Richard Alan Miller’s book, "Potential of Herbs as a Cash Crop" has good information on catnip farming. If you are getting into commercial herb farming for the first time, you should also get Miller’s e-book, "Getting Started," which is exclusively available from Richters (check the "Herb Farming Series" link on the Richters website. The "Getting Started" book has a terrific pictorial of how to grow lemon balm, showing everything from plug planting to harvesting and drying, and the equipment needed. Growing catnip is very similar to growing lemen balm, so you should find the "Getting Started" book very useful.

Oh, by the way, we ordered some of Luffa seeds from you this year....Could not be happier! Darn things grew so well and produced more than I could of hoped for.

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