Echinacea Markets in Alberta II
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Dean Pratt
Posted on: April 10, 2007

Thank you for responding. The crop started with approximately 200,000 plants, planted in 9 above ground containers that are probably 30 X 10 feet. Although, there is no COG tag, I am certain that no chemicals have ever been introduced to the growing medium and could pass an inspection, if this was deemed to be beneficial. The farmer inherited the crop from a tenant that left everything behind, so he has no previous experience with echinacea and has asked for my assistance to explore opportunities for this crop which will be mature by the end of this growing season.

If you are able to help provide us with market access, industry contacts, or any assistance that would allow us to make the most of this specialty crop, we would be happy to work with you. If you can let me know what information you will require to assess the opportunity, I would be happy to arrange a time to discuss further specifics.

200,000 plants at 4-inch pony pack can set upward of 20 acres (10,000 plants/acre). On a contract, they might sell for $0.15 each (to the right farm). Certification papers are critical, as putting the wrong plant in the ground is bad for business. For this kind of crop, you MUST have a paper trail on where the plants came from (certification).

I have written a book on this exact crop (Echinacea angustifolia), and there are 11 possible species. Having the wrong one is like putting the wrong crop in the ground. The crop is meaningless without a papertrail. You can sell it, of course, and also be liable for a lawsuit. Why was the crop abandoned in the first place?

The farmers “inheritance” may be just so much more grief. Before he folds, however, have someone give a positive identification of the crop. You may (or not) have something worth pursuing. If you want to know more about this part of the business, my book on Echinacea can be found at www.herbfarminfo.com

If the product is right, I most likely can help you sell it (as a broker). I can usually simply taste it and be able to tell what you may have in value. But, the larger buyers ALL want a paper trail. ThatÂ’’s probably why it was abandoned in the first place. This is the same with any crop.

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