South Dakota Department of Agriculture warns public about unsolicited seeds from China

PIERRE, S.D. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture, along with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) is investigating unsolicited packages of mystery seeds arriving in mailboxes across the country.

There have been nationwide reports of packages from China containing unsolicited seeds, which may contain invasive species, introduce diseases to native plants, or be harmful to livestock.

“The South Dakota Department of Agriculture has received reports of unsolicited seeds being mailed to South Dakotans,” said Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden. “We’re not sure the intent behind this activity, but I urge the public to refrain from planting these seeds as invasive species can have devastating effects on South Dakota agriculture.”

The source and motivation behind the mailings is under investigation. Shipments of the mystery seeds have been reported in at least 35 states.

Anyone receiving unsolicited seeds in the mail should do the following:

  • Do not plant the seeds
  • Save the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label
  • Contact the SDDA at 605.773.5425 or email agmail@state.sd.us with the following information:
    • Name
    • Phone number
    • Date received
    • Number of packages

The SDDA continues to monitor the situation and work with the United States Department of Agriculture for further guidance.

The USPS issued the following statement regarging the recent China mailings:

The Inspection Service is aware of the mailings and are consulting with our federal, state and local partners. If you receive one of these unsolicited seed mailings, please dispose of the seeds properly in accordance with local authorities.  To contact the Inspection Service directly, customers can call 1-877-876-2455 or email ismediainquires@uspis.gov .

Regarding the receipt of unexpected mail or packages, the U.S. Postal Service has a long-standing Return-to-Sender (RTS) process in place that facilitates the return of mail and packages that are incorrectly addressed or delivered to a location were the addressee is unknown.

Categories: National News, South Dakota News