Is the Market for Wildcrafted Roots in Missouri Coming Back?
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Brian Gibbons
Posted on: April 21, 2008

Me and a couple of friends were some of the best producers of echinacea in Missouri in the late 80s and 90s and also ginseng and goldenseal. But when market fell out in1999 we all got into other trades.

My question: Is there a market again for wildcrafting?

Because I heard the local buyer is pushing for some roots. I have done good in my flooring business, which lucky for me. My father taught me how to install flooring before I learned wildcrafting on my own. But I very much liked that part of my life and would love to find a market again , So I could teach my teenage son and start a second business buying from a few good diggers and also digging myself from places that we know have grown back thick. I had a good relationship with many landowners and so could dig where it is very sustainable.

Teaching your children how to wildcraft is a wonderful thing to do, and is how I learned as a boy. With upcoming changes in our universe, this knowledge may become even more important than ever before. I will be speaking about this in both Columbia, MO (live radio with Orbit Radio, and the Mike Hagen show) on May 5th. I leave from Wichita, KS on May 7th.

The problem with wildcrafting Echinacea from MO is that there are several different species and cultivars (variations) which are not true E. angustifolia. If you have this identified correctly, then all systems are good to go. I have written on these variations in my book found at

One of the points I plan to make while speaking in MO is that Forest Farming this crop is our future way and will replace wildcrafting from the wild. It is considered "endangered" in some States, and is also difficult to get certified organic (COG). Most buyers want this paper trail for sustainability guides and their own marketing needs.

A COG paper [certificate] will allow a better price for your efforts. If it is on private land, that is even better, especially if that land can be certified. It also gives lineage toward its harvest over then next 20 years. With the way our agriculture is being lost now, wildcrafting will become a more difficult concept for the future. But not if harvested off private land and/or leased land for BLM, DNR, or the forest service -- those can all be easily certified now for COG papers.

If you would like further details, why not try and hook up with where I will be speaking in both MO and KS, from May 5th through the 7th. And, you are always most welcome to call me at my home during normal working hours. I took early retirement to write and travel, so keep that in mind.

I thin what you want to do is laudable and part of my own belief systems of "how things should be" in the world. I often feel like many don’t hear or understand what I am trying to suggest. Our concept of how we live will be changing drastically now over the next 4 to 20 years, and will need pioneers like yourself, trying to hold to older rural small farm values.

As long as you have the right genus and species, you should not have any trouble now finding markets which are becoming stable and with growth curves again. Even though I am retired, I still also keep my hand into marketing as a broker.

Back to Commercial Herb Production and Marketing | Q & A Index

Copyright © 1997-2022 Otto Richter and Sons Limited. All rights reserved.