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Mysterious Seeds from China Land in Lakes Area
By Easton Sanders
WESTERN KENTUCKY - Unsolicited shipments of foreign seeds that agriculture officials have been warning about are now showing up in western Kentucky.

Kentucky's agriculture department said numerous Kentuckians have received the packages that appear to have originated from China.

Vicki Henson of Grand Rivers is one of those Kentuckians to have received a package of the mystery seeds.

According to Henson, when she first received the package she was puzzled. She had previously ordered some seeds from Amazon, but quickly realized she had already received the seeds she had ordered.

"Realizing I had received all the seeds I had ordered, I knew I had not ordered these," Henson said. "It was an odd looking package to me. Something very small, and in my mind I was thinking, what have I ordered that I don't remember? I could see that it was from China, which puzzled me even more."

In the package, she found a small green plastic object that had a mechanism that flipped back and forth, along with a bag of what she thought might have been a type of cucumber seed.

She said, "I had a strange feeling. After I opened it I went to wash my hands. It's just kind of creepy."

She set the package aside and went about her business. The next day, as she was scrolling through Facebook, she noticed that a lot of the posts she was seeing were about people receiving the strange packages of seeds.

After seeing so many stories of others receiving the strange seeds, she contacted the Department of Agriculture. They instructed her to wash her hands immediately, place them in a sealed container or bag, and to ship the seeds to them for further investigation.

The experience has left Henson with a lot of questions, including how they got her address.

"Is it because we are the owners of a poultry farm? Does the word farm pop up for them?" She said, "Or is it because I had ordered seeds previously from Amazon, or was that a coincidence?"

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said Monday the types of seeds are unknown and could be harmful. He stressed that the seeds should not be planted. 

“It is incredibly important that if you receive a package of foreign or unfamiliar seeds, you report it to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture immediately,” Commissioner Quarles said. “At this point in time, we don’t have enough information to know if this is a hoax, a prank, an internet scam, or an act of agricultural bio-terrorism. Unsolicited seeds could be invasive and introduce unknown diseases to local plants, harm livestock or threaten our environment. If you have received such a package, do not plant the seeds and immediately contact the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.”

According to Quarles, anyone who receives the suspicious packages with seeds should put them in an airtight bag and ship them to the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's division of Plant Protection Quarantine at USDA-APHIS PPQ, P.O. Box 475, Hebron, Kentucky 41048.

They should also contact the Kentucky Department of Agriculture at 502-573-0282 or by email at ag.web@ky.gov.

“I want to reiterate: do not plant the seeds,” Commissioner Quarles said. “We don’t know what they are, and we cannot risk any harm whatsoever to agricultural production in the United States. We have the safest, most abundant food supply in the world and we need to keep it that way.”

You can see Quarles' statement on the issue below.



On the Net:

Quarles Warns Kentuckians of Seed Shipments


Published 06:40 PM, Tuesday Jul. 28, 2020
Updated 01:37 PM, Wednesday Jul. 29, 2020

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