Working as the director of the North Carolina Arboretum’s Germplasm Repository, plant physiologist Joe-Ann McCoy is helping to fulfill the institution’s vision of creating a local products industry. She is involved in many projects, including the creation of a collection of ginseng seeds for the United States Forest Service and stocking repositories of native plants for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. But her main focus is manufacturing black cohosh supplements locally. The plant’s roots have been used for centuries as an herbal supplement, primarily for treating the symptoms of menopause. It grows naturally in the area, but it is not faring so well in warmer temperatures. McCoy has harvested the seed pods from the stems of 22 strains and stored them in federal seed repositories in Ames, Iowa and Fort Collins, Colorado, and in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway. She has worked to breed a variety that is strong, disease-resistant, and capable of growing in full sunlight. She is also working to determine which breed will produce the highest percentage of triterpene glycosides, the active ingredients. McCoy is surprised the plant is not grown as a cash crop and that supplements are not manufactured in the area, but by the German company Schaper & Brummer. To get a business started, McCoy has surveyed interest in manufacturing black cohosh supplements in the region, met with four potential investors, and begun a business plan. Her work was recently featured in Yale Environment 36.