Diane Becker, "Country Life"

As if we need any more weird occurrences this year, we were recently the recipients of one of those packages of mystery seeds from China.

I had read about the strange delivery of seeds to people in 30 states, so I knew better than to immediately plant the seeds when I opened the package. I might have, though, because the two small packages look like they would produce nice brown soup beans.

According to the package label, I received .03 kilograms of a “Ring” for 34 cents from Suzhous Jiang Su, China. There is a phone number, but I don’t think they’d answer if I called.

I did call the Department of Ag and they referred me to the USDA where I left my phone number at a number that didn’t match what I dialed. Has their department already been taken over by alien plants?

I did read that these seeds were very likely noxious weeds that, if planted, could possibly choke out our crops, starve us and make us easy for the Chinese to take over.

Authorities have identified 14 varieties and instead found plants like hibiscus, morning glory and lavender along with a “mix of ornamental, fruit and vegetable, herb and weed species.”

One guy was curious and did plant the seeds he received and said it was some sort of “giant squash plant.”

Members of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture were supposed to come to his home and dig them up this week. We don’t need giant squash taking over our corn crop.

The general opinion now is not to plant the seed but that it’s probably more of an Internet scam thing in which they mail really light items to lots of American citizens to confirm their addresses and, once they do, they then use the names and addresses to post glowing reviews on websites.

If you received seeds your identity is considered “compromised.” Great.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said China has strict regulations about mailing seeds and that the return addresses are all falsified. He said that the China mail service has “negotiated” with the U. S. Post office to “return these fake mails to China.”

The government recently issued instructions on what to do with the packages. Unopened packages and packages containing objects other than seeds should be reported to the USDA Anti-Smuggling hotline at 1-800-877-3835 or by email at SITC.mail.aphis.usda.gov.

Opened packages containing seeds should be reported to the state’s Division of Plant Industry by emailing FDACS.gov/SeedByMail. Recipients will be given the option of taking the package to their local extension agent’s office or scheduling a pickup by a state agriculture department inspector.

Can you believe this 2020?

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