SIDNEY — After increasing reports of Ohio citizens receiving packages of unsolicited seeds in the mail, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is asking Ohioans to turn in unsolicited seeds to their local OSU extension office or mail to the USDA at 8995 E. Main St., Building 23, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068.
“Someone did turn in one of the packets yesterday here at the office,” said Matt Schmerge, OSU agriculture extension agents for Shelby County. “One was turned in in Van Wert and in Xenia. It all seems very unusual right now, like everything else that’s going on.”
Schmerge says packets are labeled with something innocent like earrings or necklace.
“People should make sure they do not open them; do not plant them; and do not experiment with them” he stressed. “Place the materials including the seeds and original packaging material and in a reseal able plastic bag and mail them to USDA in Reynoldsburg or turn in at their local OSU extension office, 810 Fair Road, Sidney, OH 45365. Include your contact information.”
Schmerge says unsolicited seeds could be invasive species, noxious weeds, diseases, and could be harmful to local 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.
Reach out to the local office by phone, 937-498-7239 or email email@example.com prior to driving out so people are aware of any office specific information that is important before a visit to 810 Fair Rd, Sidney, OH 45365, or look for info on the Ohio Department of Agriculture website.
The writer is a member of the Shelby County Master Gardeners.