La. leaders worry seeds arriving in the mail could be harmful to agriculture in the state

La. officials worry seeds showing up in the mail could be harmful to state agriculture

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The worries of state agriculture leaders are growing as mystery seeds are appearing in mailboxes.

Inside a harmless looking package found in mailboxes across Louisiana are seeds that have sown fears in agriculture leaders across the state. 

Their fears are rooted in the unknown. The seeds have largely appeared out of China with no explanation of what they are or why they are appearing. 

RELATED STORIES:

“This is probably the most concerning issue that I’ve had come up in my career with the department,” said Lester Cannon, Director of Seed Programs at the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF). 

Cannon said he worries that the multitude of seeds popping up are invasive species that could ultimately harm the state’s ag industry. 

“You bring them into an environment that they have no natural predators and when they have no natural predators to control them naturally they’re going to explode, take over the local population of animals or whatever it may be,” he said.

Ag Commissioner Mike Strain urged anyone who has received the seeds to not even open them. Strain says if you receive or have received the package you should report it to LDAF immediately. An LDAF agent will come and pick them up, Strain says. Officials will then send the seeds off to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for analysis. 

“We’re going to send those to where they can be opened in a highly controlled environment, right,” Strain said, “because of the potential risk because there could be something in those packets and we don’t want that to get out.”

If they do get out, Cannon is worried the problem might not be containable. 

“All it takes is one and once they get, what we call, indigenized here then you get into management mode and costs and finances,” Cannon said. 

Click here to report a typo.

Copyright 2020 WAFB. All rights reserved.