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Arkansas Residents Asked to Report Mystery Seed, Product Packages

By Mary Hightower U of A System Division of Agriculture, 07/30/20 11:59 AM

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.

As reported a few days ago, Hempstead County Sheriff’s Deputies requested Hazmat assistance after three breathing masks were sent to an 18-year-old county resident unsolicited.

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

“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.