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State Offers Guidance On Mystery Seed Packets Arriving In Wisconsin Mailboxes


People in Wisconsin and dozens of other states have been getting seed packets they didn’t request in the mail.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is working to collect information on the trend and asking people to take specific action.

“Some Wisconsin residents have received these unsolicited packages in the mail that appear to contain seeds or other small items that people didn’t order. The packages appear to have originated from China or potentially other countries, as well,” said DATCP Communications Director Grace Atherton.

DATCP says it has gotten about a thousand reports of the packets from people in the state.

The agency is telling people not to open, plant, or throw away the seeds. Instead, report it to DATCP by using this form.

“If the seeds come in sealed packaging, don’t open that,” Atherton said. “If you have already, just retain it. We’ve heard of some people keeping [the packaging] and the seeds in a Ziploc bag. That works just fine.”

DATCP is working with the federal agriculture department to figure out what’s going on.

“That is exactly what USDA is investigating. They are working with a number of other federal agencies, as well. It’s a very widely collaborative effort, I would say,” Atherton said.

The state government says unsolicited seeds could be invasive species, could introduce plant diseases, or could be harmful to livestock.

Ben worked as the Special Topics Correspondent at WXPR from September 2019 until November 2021. He now contributes occasionally to WXPR. During his full-time employment, his main focus was reporting on environment and natural resources issues in northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula as part of The Stream, a weekly series.
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