AHPA Member Nature’s Way coordinated a tour today of its 1,850 Garnay ginkgo farm for staff of Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) to showcase innovative techniques developed to grow, harvest and dry ginkgo leaves and demonstrate the positive economic impact of the dietary supplement industry on local and state economies.
AHPA President Michael McGuffin also participated in the tour of the farm established in 1982 in Sumter South Carolina, which now provides ginkgo leaves sold in products in 80 countries worldwide.
“This was a unique opportunity to show Sen. Scott’s staff how his involvement in the Dietary Supplement Caucus promotes industry to directly benefit his constituents in South Carolina,” said Brenda Van Goethem, director of regulatory affairs at Nature’s Way and vice chair of AHPA’s Board of Trustees. “We greatly appreciate the Senator’s staff taking the time to learn about the growing herbal supplement industry.”
The Garnay farm has innovated new ways to produce ginkgo leaves. Unlike the large trees that can reach 90 feet tall, the trees on the Garnay farm are kept shrub-size and their leaves are machine picked using modified cotton harvesters.
Garnay staff highlighted several features of the farm and processing facilities during the tour, including:
- 700 tons of dried ginkgo leaves are produced per year by 12 full time staff, 8 seasonal staff, 12 temporary staff for harvest. Plants up to 35 years of age are still producing leaves.
- Weeds are controlled using mechanical and thermal techniques and no herbicides, insecticides, or fungicides are applied to help ensure “residue free” leaves.
- All production steps are fully under the farm’s control, ensuring: full traceability of every batch down to the field; complete documentation of all production steps; and control of dried product for humidity.
“This farm is a testament to the regulated herbal supplement industry’s commitment to innovating to ensure high-quality, sustainably produced and traceable ingredients are available to meet consumer demand for effective and safe health supplements,” said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. “It also shows how domestically produced herbs directly benefits U.S. farmers, their communities and the herbal supplement industry.”