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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

August 3, 2020 - 2:49pm --

Ohio Department of Agriculture: Unsolicited Seed Reporting

Reports of Ohio citizens receiving packages of unsolicited seeds have been widespread in recent days. On July 30, 2020, the Ohio Department of Agriculture issued a news release establishing local Extension Offices as drop-off locations for these seed packets.

Seed Packaging Seed Packet

What you should do if you have received seeds:

  • Read the Ohio Department of Agriculture news release by clicking here.
  • Save the seeds and the package they came in, including the mailing label.
  • Do not open the seed packets.
  • Do not plant any of the seeds.
  • If the packets are already open, place all materials (seeds and packaging) into a zip lock bag and seal properly.
  • Report receiving the seeds to the Ohio Department of Agriculture using the web form provided here, or provide documentation using a printable form when dropping of or mailing the packets.
  • If possible, mail the seeds and all packaging to USDA-APHIS at the address provided in the news release. Or, seal and drop off the seeds and packaging at your local Extension Office. Please call ahead to the Extension Office to confirm hours and availability of staff to receive the package. For a list of Extension Offices, please visit

Why are these seed packets a concern?

Seeds for planting pose a significant risk for U.S. agriculture and natural resources because they can carry seed born viruses or other diseases. Imported vegetable or agricultural seed must meet labeling and phytosanitary requirements and be inspected by APHIS and CBP at the port of entry. Some seeds, including citrus, corn, cotton, okra, tomato, and pepper seed, are restricted and may require an import permit, phytosanitary certificate, inspection at a USDA Plant Inspection Station, or testing to ensure any potential risks are mitigated. Certain seed species are considered so high risk that they are prohibited. For example, true botanical seed of potato is not enterable from any country except Canada, and certain areas of Chile and New Zealand. (Source: USDA Questions and Answers)

More Information

More information can be found by visiting: