WESTERN TREASURE VALLEY — The Idaho Eastern-Oregon Seed Association and the Oregon Department of Agriculture warns Idaho residents about unsolicited packages of Chinese seeds, telling Idaho residents that may have received a packet of seeds to “immediately contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture” according to a recent statement.
“These seeds have the potential to cause serious economic damages to our valuable seed industry and other agricultural sectors if they were to be planted. Idahoans who receive these seed packages should not open up the packages and under no circumstance should they plant these seeds,” said Roger Batt, Executive Director of the Idaho Eastern-Oregon Seed Association, in a news release.
The Idaho Eastern-Oregon Seed Association is a non-profit organization representing over 120 companies in the Idaho and Eastern-Oregon seed trade.
According to the statement, the Idaho and Eastern Oregon region is one of only five major worldwide seed production regions and represents a $750 million dollar segment of the agricultural economy. Seed companies within this region ship more than 50 species of seed crops to over 120 countries worldwide to feed a global population.
“We want to thank those citizens who have contacted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to alert the rest of us about this situation,” noted IEOSA President Gina Lohnes.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) also released a statement regarding the unsolicited Chinese seeds, telling anyone who has received them to “save the seeds and the package they came in, including the mailing label.”
The ODA reminds people to not open the seed packets or plant any of the seeds. If the packets are already opened, placed the contents and the packets into a zip lock bag and seal it.
“ODA is working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspections Service (APHIS) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection on this issue. The goal is to collect the seeds and test them to determine if they are a concern to agriculture or the environment,” reads the statement.