Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson announced that residents receiving unsolicited packages of seeds with addresses alleging they are from China, or any foreign country, can now drop off the seeds at the Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension Office located in their county.
“I want to thank MSU Director of Extension Dr. Gary Jackson and the MSU Extension Offices in each county for providing assistance with seed collection during this time. We are continuing to get calls from across the state. We have had 82 reports of these seeds from 45 counties. We ask that the public hold on to the mailing label and place the seeds and packaging in a plastic bag prior to drop off, if possible” said Commissioner Gipson. “The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce is continuing to work closely with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on this issue.”
While the seeds have Chinese addresses and character writing on them, investigators looking into this say they could have been mailed from inside the United States and could be part of a hoax with a political angle.
The seeds so far recovered come in a variety of sizes and colors and authorities are looking to determine what they are. Again the USDA and Extension Service are urging people not to get curious and plant the seed.
Residents in all 50 states have now reported receiving suspicious packages of seeds. The seeds and packaging are not deemed harmful to humans or animals at this time, but should not be thrown in normal trash as they could germinate and grow.
Please call the Coahoma County Extension Service at 662-624-3070 prior to dropping off seeds with Extension personnel at 504 East Second Street, in Clarksdale. Please do not leave the seeds outside or unattended.
If unable to drop off seeds at the local MSU Extension Office, residents can continue to contact the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce’s Bureau of Plant Industry by phoning (662) 325-3390 for further instructions.
For readers outside of Coahoma County, to www.extension.msstate.edu/county-offices to find an MSU Extension Office near you.