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Harvest Public Media reports on food systems, agriculture and rural issues through a collaborative network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest and Plains.

Unexpected Seed Deliveries From China Could Contain Invasive Species, Officials Warn

OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
A package from China containing seeds. Agriculture officials warn the seeds could contain invasive species.

Unsolicited packages of seeds from China are arriving in mailboxes around the country. More than 20 state departments of agriculture, including Oklahoma, Iowa and Nebraska are warning that the seeds could potentially be harmful.

The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture posted on Monday that packages have been reported across the state, and says the unidentified seeds could be potentially invasive, introduce diseases to plants or be harmful to livestock. Oklahoma Department of Agriculture spokesperson Morgan Vance declined to give a number of instances of packages arriving in the state, but says the department is taking precautions.

“Our ultimate goal is to protect Oklahoma agriculture producers, and we certainly care about ensuring the safety of our state soil health and take invasive species and invasive pest reports very seriously,” Vance says.

Vance says anyone who receives a package should not plant or throw the seeds in the trash. Instead, she asks people to report it to the USDA Animal and Health Inspection Service by calling 800-877-3835.

In Oklahoma, recipients are also asked to email [email protected] or [email protected]. Seeds can be mailed or dropped off at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture or by dropping off the seeds and the original packaging in a ziplock bag to a local county Extension office.

Seth Bodine was KOSU's agriculture and rural issues reporter from June 2020 to February 2022.
Harvest Public Media reports on food systems, agriculture and rural issues through a collaborative network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest and Plains.
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