Unsolicited seed packages in mail

July 28, 2020
ICM News

Most people are probably aware of the unsolicited mailing of seed packets from China and other countries. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) has issued guidelines on how to deal with the situation if you should receive one of these packages.  The following statement was made by IDALS.

Why do we care?

1.       The seed is unlabeled, and could be an invasive plant that does not currently exist in the US.
2.       The seed may contain seed-borne diseases that we don’t have in the USA.
3.       Some packets appear to have an unknown seed treatment applied (seed treatments are usually an insecticide and/or fungicide).  Because the packets are unlabeled we don’t know what the compounds are, nor how dangerous they could be to human health.
4.       Seed is an agricultural commodity that is regulated for quality and content by the USDA as well as State Departments of Agriculture.

We are asking you to do the following:

1.      Do not plant the seed;
2.      Do not open the packets;
3.      Please let the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship know you have received the seed; IDALS – (515) 281-5321
4.      Please retain the packaging and seed, as we will make arrangements to collect the seed for investigative purposes and then arrange for appropriate disposal.

Why do we think this is happening?

We think this could be a brushing scam where for whatever reason they are using seed, and sometimes, packages that contain nothing. We suggest changing your passwords in your online shopping accounts.

IDALS Press Release. July 28, 2020

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Bob Hartzler Professor of Agronomy

Dr. Bob Hartzler is a professor of agronomy and an extension weed specialist. He conducts research on weed biology and how it impacts the efficacy of weed management programs in corn and soybean. Dr. Hartzler also teaches undergraduate classes in weed science and weed identificatio...