Last Thursday, Colusa County Agricultural Commissioner Greg Hinton issued an advisory for Colusa County residents after a reports of mysterious and unsolicited shipments of seeds were received throughout the country.
“These shipments have been arriving at homeowner and business locations throughout the country, including here in Colusa County,” Hinton said in the release. “The package contents typically list the contents as jewelry, toys, or a number code.”
Since the advisory, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has identified 14 kinds of seeds in the mysterious packages, some of which contain flowering plants like morning glory, hibiscus and roses, other packages contain vegetables, such as cabbage and herbs, including mint, sage, rosemary, and lavender.
However, the USDA, the CDFA, and the Colusa County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office is urging residents to not open any unsolicited seed packets received, to not plant them, and to keep the packaging, including mailing label, and contact the County Ag Commissioner’s Office.
“Please DO NOT PLANT or dispose of the seeds,” said Hinton. “Please immediately contact the Colusa County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office if you come into possession of these unsolicited seeds, and we will arrange to pick up the seeds or you may drop them off at our office.”
Seeds that are legally sold to residents of California must go through proper channels in order to protect California’s multi-billion dollar agricultural industry.
“Colusa County is one of California’s significant seed producing locations,” said Hinton. “Seeds with unknown origin and those that have not been properly inspected, treated, or tested may have a significant impact on our local industry and ag based economy.”
Why are these seeds being sent? At this time it is unknown, and could be linked to a ‘brushing scam.’
“We don’t have any evidence indicating this is something other than a ‘brushing scam’ where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales,” the CDFA said in a statement. “The USDA is currently collecting seed packages from recipients and will test their contents and determine if they contain anything that could be of concern to U.S. agriculture or the environment.”
If you have received these seeds, please contact the Colusa County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office at 100 Sunrise Blvd. Suite F Colusa, Call, (530) 458-0580, or email, firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have unwittingly planted the seeds, immediately mark off the location, and contact the Colusa County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office for further direction.
“Thank you for your help in protecting our local crops, industry and environment,” said Hinton. ■