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USDA Investigating Unsolicited Seed Packages

Ohio State University's Clark County Extension in Springfield
Chris Welter
Ohio State University's Clark County Extension in Springfield

People all across Ohio have been getting mysterious seeds in the mail. Now, the Ohio Department of Agriculture has instructions for what to do with them.

If you’re an Ohio resident and you received unsolicited seeds in the mail, officials are saying you should put them and their packaging in a Ziplock bag and send them to the US Department of Agriculture offices in Columbus, or drop the seeds off at the nearest Ohio State Extension Office.

Pam Bennett is an Associate Professor at Ohio State and the Horticulture Educator at the Clark County Extension.

“This is USDA-APHIS who is doing the investigation. They want us to hold on to them until they dig deeper. Then maybe they'll come and say it's ok to destroy them or put them in the trash. Or maybe they'll want them all collected.”

Even if the unsolicited seeds are just a brushingtechnique, Bennett says that it’s very important that people don’t plant the seeds — just in case they come from invasive or noxious plants. She also says that if you buy seeds online, it’s important to make sure that the companies you buy from are based in the United States or Canada where they are required to follow phytosanitary standards.

Environmental reporter Chris Welter is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

Copyright 2021 WYSO. To see more, visit WYSO.

Chris Welter is an Environmental Reporter at WYSO through Report for America. In 2017, he completed the radio training program at WYSO's Eichelberger Center for Community Voices. Prior to joining the team at WYSO, he did boots-on-the-ground conservation work and policy research on land-use issues in southwest Ohio as a Miller Fellow with the Tecumseh Land Trust.