By: Amy Stone, OSU Extension Lucas County
The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is asking Ohioans to please send in unsolicited seeds. Earlier today the ODA distributed the release that is included in this BYGL Alert.
After increasing reports of Ohio citizens receiving packages of unsolicited seeds in the mail, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is again urging the public to report and submit any unsolicited seed packets to ODA. In partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine Office, ODA is working to investigate the number of seed packets sent to Ohio, what type of seeds they are, and where they were mailed from.
The USDA-APHIS and ODA are asking Ohioans who have received these unsolicited packages not to open, plant, or throw them away. Instead, citizens should report receiving seeds here and then submit the packages to USDA using one of the following methods:
If possible, place the materials including the seeds, original packaging material and your contact information in a resealable plastic bag and mail them to USDA-APHIS at the following address:
Attn: USDA -SITC
8995 East Main Street, Building 23
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
Place the materials including the seeds, original packaging material and your contact information in a resealable plastic bag and drop them off at your county’s OSU Extension Office during business hours. You can find the nearest extension office here: https://extension.osu.edu/lao. Please note that extension facilities may have COVID-19 specific signage detailing procedures such as wearing a facial covering that must be followed. Additionally, some offices are open at a reduced schedule, or by appointment only. Please reach out to your local office by phone or email prior to driving out so that you are aware of any office specific information that is important before your visit.
Unsolicited seeds could be invasive species, contain noxious weeds, could introduce diseases to local plants, or could be harmful to livestock. Invasive species and noxious weeds can displace native plants and increase costs of food production. All foreign seeds shipped to the United States should have a phytosanitary certificate which guarantees the seeds meet important requirements.
ODA will have the latest information regarding this investigation on their website.