Mike Hagen mhagen at olympus.net
Fri Apr 17 11:37:33 EST 1998

Hmmmm. What's a commiseration conclave?  I thought I was at a forest
service love fest...  Us private folk were outnumbered 20 to 1, easy. 

Had a good talk with Dave Pilz and heard much about fungi:
chanterelles, exports, matsutake camps, botanticals, you name it. It
was normal to hear apparantly contradictory statements, in the same
presentation, by the same person. Such as: the bulk floral and
botanical brush trade is worth $50 million in western Montana. But
local busines's are going broke because of the depressed prices.
However, Montana does not regulate it, so it doesn't really know. Most
of it is shipped to Wa and OR so it's counted with those states crops. 

> > 3) NAFTA 's update will be very bad for North American owned SFP
> > traders
> It may be bad for some, certainly it isn't bad for all.
The problem boils down to North American wages vs. the rest of the
worlds. If the son of Nafta passes,  the (mostly German) botanical
companies will be able to set up shop in Canada and the US and "level
the playing field" some more.  The niche that local botanical
suppliers have is quality of product and timing. Our growing season
runs a little earlier that the competition.

> > 4) successful SFP businesses need a value added factor (engineering or
> > processing) to make it. Bulk sales are what the international
> > companies excel at.
> Perhaps not engineering or processing. Certainly, most of the markets need
> tremendously more advertising. Most people in the US still don't know any of
> the SFP's or NTFP's.

That too.  The small diameter timber products, ie thinning materials,
are engineered into high quality structural beams and panels.  The
Juniper and mesquite wood went into decorative panels and really wild
looking furniture and art.  Botanicals pay off better when you do
something with them, other than just passing the bales along. 
Tinctures, teas, dog pillows, soap, preserved floral arrangements, it
was all being pushed by some hopeful. 
> > 5) With the exception of a few special products, particularly
> > matsutake, truffles and some pharmaceuticals, nobody is getting rich
> > at this or even making much of a living.
> I think I smell a smoke screen here.

Could have been infernal revenue present, undercover.
> It *definately* is not the first time. Dr. William Dennison sponsored a
> similar meeting in 1988. Similar conferences have been held at Hillsboro,
> Portland, Corvallis and Vancouver in the 10 years since. From my experience
> attending these, they tend to be mostly commissuration conclaves.
> >
>Those present thought the mix of interest groups was representative of those really doing it (although a bit heavy on the USFS presence). Other meetings were certainly good ones too. Just got mailed the proceedings from an earlier conference which are probably still available. If you're interested, email me.

By the way, the morels are up.

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