Tiny, unsolicited packages of seeds have been showing up in Texas mailboxes. Packages like these, which appear to be from China, have been mailed to people in multiple states. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is urging Texans to take this seriously and use extreme caution when receiving the seed packets.
The Texas Department of Agriculture is advising people not to plant the seeds as they could contain harmful invasive species that could destroy native crops and may be dangerous for livestock.
“An invasive plant species might not sound threatening, but these small invaders could destroy Texas agriculture. TDA has been working closely with USDA to analyze these unknown seeds so we can protect Texas residents,” Miller said in a news release.
Dr. Kevin Ong, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service plant pathologist and director of the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in College Station, is concerned.
“Not knowing what the seeds are could potentially open our agriculture industry up to noxious weeds. If that proves to be the case, if they take hold, they could impact agriculture negatively,” Ong said. “What USDA wants to know is, why are people getting these, and are they noxious weeds.”
The department says if you receive a packet, do not open the package, and do not plant the contents. Keep the seed contents contained in their original sealed package and report the packet to SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov.