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Ginseng Industry Feels Impact Of Virus Concerns

WAOW Television

The coronavirus continues to spread globally and could have an impact on the ginseng business in Wisconsin.

"The Ginseng industry here in Central Wisconsin is heavily reliant on Chinese-Americans and tourist from China," said the President of Hsu's Ginseng Will Hsu.

Travel restrictions between the United States and China are hoping to contain the virus, but it could mean less people buying highly sought-after Wisconsin ginseng.

Hsu said it's still too early to know what the impact will be, and will likely depend on how long the outbreak lasts. He said the biggest impact could come in the summer months during what would typically be summer vacations.

And this isn't the first time his business has been impacted by a virus outbreak. The SARS outbreak in the early 2000s still lingers in the back of his mind.

"That was probably one of our most difficult years as an industry," Hsu said. "That was probably the last time we remember having to layoff staff members."

He's hoping it doesn't get as bad as the SARS outbreak, but the coronavirus is just the latest obstacle to be thrown at his ginseng business. He said other global factors are also impact trade including tariffs and protests in Hong Kong.

Hsu encourages people to buy from local farmers, especially right now when the impacts of the trade war with China are still felt through out the United States.