Cold weather damages ginseng crop in Marathon County - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Cold weather damages ginseng crop in Marathon County

MADISON (WKOW) -- Gov. Jim Doyle wants federal officials to declare Marathon County a disaster area after cold weather damaged the ginseng crop.

Wisconsin produces 95 percent of the nation's ginseng. The root is popular in Asian countries, where consumers add it to tea or soup to ease stress and fatigue.

Most of the state's crop is grown in Marathon County in central Wisconsin. Doyle's office says much of the crop was damaged or killed earlier this month when the county was hit with wet heavy snow and freezing temperatures.

Doyle on Wednesday asked U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to declare the area a disaster area. That would give farmers access to emergency loans and other resources.

A call to the U.S. Department of Agriculture rang unanswered Wednesday afternoon.

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