UACES Facebook Arkansas residents asked to report mystery seed, product packages
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July 29, 2020

Arkansas residents asked to report mystery seed, product packages

By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts

  • Unsolicited seed, product packages showing up in mailboxes
  • Public asked to report packages and not plant the contents
  • Make reports to state Agriculture Department: 501-225-1598

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(Newsrooms – with image of seed packet here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmPHkmTj)

LITTLE ROCK – Did you receive a packet of seeds or some trinket that you didn’t order? The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is asking Arkansans to let the department know if they received unsolicited packages in the mail.

Texas-China Seeds
SEED PACKETS — Contents of one of three unsolicited packages received by Kelly Freeman in Washington County, Arkansas, back in May and June. (Image courtesy Kelly Freeman) 

Anyone receiving packages of seeds that they did not order should contact Arkansas Plant Industries Division at 501-225-1598, or by email: Paul.shell@agriculture.arkansas.gov or
Mark.stoll@agriculture.arkansas.gov.

 “The Arkansas Department of Agriculture has been made aware that private citizens in several states have received unsolicited packages containing seeds that appear to have originated from China,” said Scott Bray, plant industries director for the Arkansas Agriculture Department. “The types of seeds in the packages are unknown at this time and may be invasive plant species. We urge people not to plant them, but report them to us.”

Cooperative Extension Service agents around the state said residents in their counties have received the seeds and asked agents what they were. Agents have been asked to place any seeds in a zip top plastic bag to send to the Arkansas Agriculture Department.

Some of the packages were marked as containing jewelry. Others had no content description on the outside. Return addresses indicated origins in China, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

“These seeds are of unknown species and of unknown origin. We have no idea why or what’s being sent to us,” said Vic Ford, associate vice president-agriculture and natural resources, Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. “The possibility of introducing an exotic invasive species or disease of common crops is a possibility and we have to take precautions.”

The seeds will be tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

To learn about extension and research programs in Arkansas, visit division.uaex.edu, Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk, @uaex_edu or @ArkAgResearch.

 

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

 

Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Chief Communications Officer
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture         
mhightower@uaex.edu          
501-671-2006

 

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