Wisconsin ginseng grower shares top concerns ahead of Election Day

WAUSAU, Wis. – TMJ4 News speaks to Wisconsin voters in a feature series called Road to November.

TMJ4’s Shannon Sims did the navigation and Charles Benson did the driving as they traveled to Wausau to speak with ginseng grower, Will Hsu.

WATCH: Ginseng grower Will Hsu explains why ginseng is unique to Wisconsin and what it takes to grow it in our state.

A ginseng farmer explains why ginseng is unique to Wisconsin

Shannon: When we talk about Wisconsin, we always think of dairy products, right? But we are the number one ginseng producer in the country.

Charles: In all these years covering politics and the state of Wisconsin, I have never been to a ginseng farm. I’m really excited about this.

Will Hsu: My dad started Hsu’s Ginseng Enterprises in 1974. It’s just one of those minor cultures that people may have heard of or know is good or healthy for them. They just don’t realize or acknowledge that it’s grown here in Wisconsin.

Shannon: How important is Wisconsin soil to Jensen?

Will be: Soil is absolutely critical to the development of jinxing in our industry here in central Wisconsin.

Shannon: If I had to give you a list of four things, tell me which one is most important to you. Climate change, immigration, foreign trade, inflation.

Will be: I would probably say foreign trade is number one, and immigration is number two, because of our workforce. Inflation is number three because I think inflation is probably related to our foreign trade policy and what we deal with (in) immigration. If you don’t have sources of labor and you don’t have sources of goods, you’re going to have inflation.

ATM4

TMJ4’s Shannon Sims did the navigation and Charles Benson did the driving as they traveled to Wausau to speak with ginseng grower, Will Hsu.

Shannon: Are commercial relations a priority for you as a farmer?

Will be: Business relationships over the past four or five years have been (at the forefront) of my mind every day. This is probably the biggest problem we have as evil farmers.

Benson: Is this a political question for you?

Will be: Trade is only political because it is negotiated at the highest level of government.

Benson: So during the political year, when you hear what’s happening at the border, we have to stop things at the border and you’re like, wait a minute, come to my farm, and you would get a different perspective?

Will be: Immigration is essential for us in two different ways. As immigrants ourselves, we hire foreign and temporary labor from Mexico to do some of this field work, and it’s not easy work to do. I did it when I was a kid. The other area where we need immigrants is in our businesses, our sales. Our customers, both domestic and international, require customer service in Mandarin. So we actually hire and retain a lot of H1B visa and OPT and green card applicants or permanent resident applicants who were sponsoring their visa because they have a skill set but we also need their skills linguistics.

Charles: I can’t think of a bigger product within the state that has such a big impact on what our relationship with China means.

Shannon: And we just learned from Will that if we don’t have a good relationship with China, he doesn’t have a successful business.

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