Commercial Market for Wild Catnip?
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Jeff and Melissa Delimont
Posted on: April 16, 2007

My wife and I have 23 acres of farm ground in NW Kansas. It has a lot of wild catnip growing on it and our cats have just went wild over it for many years. We have been thinking of growing and wondered if there is a commercial market for it. If so, what would be needed to start this in terms of equipment and costs? Is there perhaps a different crop you would suggest that is easier or more profitable?

I have written extensively on the development of catnip as a field crop, as it was the first one I learned how to grow. The Business Plan section of my book "The Potential of Herbs As A Cash Crop" is on catnip. More detailed information on equipment needed can be found in the book "Getting Started," at

www.herbfarminfo.com

To put up catnip and other related hay-type crops requires a swather, side-throw delivery rake, and baler. This kind of equipment should be easily found almost anywhere in your area, as used equipment. You might cut the wild plants back early in June, so your crop can be sold as an herb. Like alfalfa, if the crop goes beyond 10% flowers, the stem become woody.

If there is a bean harvester in the neighborhood (New Holland) you could also put up leaf and flowers, bringing a much different price to your efforts. I could use upward of 10 acres of catnip leaves and flowers this year. Most of my good farmers went out of business four to six years ago when the markets slumped. Wildcrafting the native catnip, while putting in a new field for next year is smart money in the bank.

If I have something to sell in June (wildcraft), you may have field crop available in September. If not, the local wildcraft could use a second harvest. And, since this is already April, do let me know ASAP for my current market needs. How else can I help you?

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