In 1987 regulations were adopted that established conservation practices for American ginseng in New York State (6 NYCRR 193.4-193.8). These regulations established a ginseng harvest season, a dealer permitting system, conservation practices, and certification procedures. A year later, the United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) approved the New York State American Ginseng Program and lifted a ban on the export of New York grown ginseng. The program is reviewed annually to see if it meets all the federal requirements under The Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), an international treaty.
New York's ginseng program has been set up to help those in the ginseng business. The regulations were written with assistance from the New York Ginseng Association. The regulations have made it possible for New York ginseng dealers to conduct interstate and international trade in American ginseng while preventing over exploitation of wild ginseng.
Ginseng is an important forest crop. It grows on well drained, rich soils under northern hardwoods. Most of New York State has the potential for growing ginseng. It also has the potential to provide more of an economic return than any other forest crop. It is estimated that ginseng harvesting in New York is over $3 million annually, and another $50 million of out-of-state harvested ginseng is bought and sold by New York dealers each year. Ginseng is an important source of income for many New Yorker's and could become a source of income for many others. The cultivation of ginseng is a rapidly expanding business in the state with an unlimited potential.
No ginseng may be harvested from any State Lands. Violators of this regulation will be prosecuted.
The ultimate goal of the ginseng program is to insure the survival of the species in the wild. By providing technical assistance and information to ginseng growers, harvesters, and dealers, the DEC can help conserve the species, while providing jobs and income to many people.