cornett-travis-5Travis Cornett, High Country Ginseng

Continuing Processing and Storage Facility
Grant Award: $6,000

Travis has built a drying system and storage area to complete a processing facility for High Country Ginseng that he constructed with the help of a 2015 WNC AgOptions grant. He wired the building for a cooling and drying system, finished the roof and insulation, and created a ‘safe room’ to store fresh and dried ginseng before it is shipped to buyers. A proper cooling, drying and storage area increases Travis’s capacity to grow his business.

Cornett, Travis 0810 (4)“For preparing dried ginseng for sale, post harvest handling is extremely important,” Travis said. Roots must be properly washed and dried.

Travis has traveled throughout the United States touring the largest ginseng operations in the country, gaining insight in ginseng processing facilities. He is also working with N.C. Cooperative Extension and N.C. A&T on soil fertility and site preparation issues, experimenting with herbicides and an organic fungicide. He is trying to establish “High Country Grown Ginseng” as a regional brand.

Cornett, Travis 0810 (1)“North Carolina ginseng is considered a superior product by Asian market standards and I have been contacted by several export buyers who are interested in seeing my operation expand to provide them with sustainable levels of product,” Travis said.

Travis has 15 acres of wild-simulated ginseng, ranging from one to eight years old. Ginseng requires more than seven years to grow to the minimum size to sell, but after four years, seed and rootlets can be marketed to help cover production costs. 2015 was the second year that Travis was able to sell seeds, rootlets and roots.

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