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UDAF Breaking News on Unsolicited Seed Packages – updated August 13, 2020

Unsolicited Seed Instructions:

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is requesting individuals who have received unsolicited packages of seeds to deliver those seeds to the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA AAPHIS). Instructions with additional links are listed below.

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USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is aware that people across the country have received suspicious, unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China. We are working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and State departments of agriculture to investigate the situation.

Our main concern is the potential for these seeds to introduce damaging pests or diseases that could harm U.S. agriculture. It is important that we collect and test as many seeds as possible. Anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds should submit an online report and mail their seeds to the nearest USDA office in their state. If more than one location is listed, please select the location closest to your residence.


Instructions for Mailing Seed Packets:

    • Place the unopened seed packet and any packaging, including the mailing label in a mailing envelope. If the seed packets are open, first place the seeds and their packaging into a zip-lock bag, seal it, and then place everything into a mailing envelope.
    • Please include your name, address, and phone number so that a State or Federal agriculture official can contact you for additional information, if needed.
    • If you received other unsolicited items in addition to seeds, please only send the seeds.

If you are unable to mail the package, please contact your APHIS State Plant Health Director to arrange a no-contact pick up or determine a convenient drop-off location.

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For more information, including a list of frequently asked questions, please click here.



Agricultural Voluntary Incentive Program

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) in cooperation with the Utah Division of Water Quality (DWQ) have begun the Voluntary Agricultural Incentive Program (AgVIP) to help farming operations develop Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (CNMPs) that will help producers maximize crop yields while staying in compliance with state water quality regulations and includes several financial incentives.

The application period for the Voluntary Agriculture Incentive Program will be July 1, 2020 to August 1st 2020.


Toxic Algae Bloom Around Zion’s National Park

Producers Near Warned to Prevent Animal Exposure to Toxic Algae Bloom Around Zion’s National Park

A Harmful Algae Bloom (HAB) was recently detected in the North Fork of the Virgin River in Zion National Park. The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is issuing a warning to all producers with livestock along the 15 mile stretch of river from Zion National Park (ZNP), down to Virgin City, to use other sources of water, if available.

Preliminary research is showing that water taken from the Virgin River and distributed in stock tanks is safe. However, having animals drink directly from the river may expose them to the harmful algae. The algae found in the Virgin River seems to not pollute the water so long as it is not disturbed by movement such as animal crossings or recreational traffic. However, because producers cannot predict what is happening upriver from them, it is advised that they use
alternate water sources where available.

Animals that ingest cyanotoxins or cyanobacteria cells may show symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, convulsions, difficulty breathing and general weakness. Consumption of cyanotoxins can result in livestock deaths.

For producers that irrigate, there is currently limited information on plant update of toxins. The main concern is protecting irrigators from these toxins. Individuals are encouraged to practice good hygiene, especially in the areas where they come in contact with irrigation water.

Microcoleus a benthic algae found in the North Fork of the Virgin River can produce high levels of anatoxin-a, a nervous system cyanotoxin and harmful cyanobacteria. Benthic Samples taken from the river have shown anatoxin-a concentration greater than 55 micrograms per liter in some samples. The Department of Water Quality (DWQ) and Utah Department of Health’s threshold for primary recreation is 15 micrograms per liter. Testing is currently on going from the area above where the river enters ZNP, down to Virgin City. Currently, water column samples taken from the river have not detected cyanotoxins.

UDAF is currently monitoring the situation with other agencies such as the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Zion National Park, and the Department of Health, and the cities of Springdale, Rockville and Virgin, Utah.

Click here to learn more.



Utah Retail Outlets Can Now Apply to Sell Industrial Hemp Products

The Utah Agricultural Code and Hemp & Cannabinoid Act has been updated. All retail establishments selling industrial hemp products must have a permit to continue marketing and selling throughout the state. The permit is required for all Utah retailers to include online platforms based within the state. Retail businesses that are based out-of-state and sell hemp products online are not required to possess a retail permit, however, the products that are being sold to consumers in Utah must be registered with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Utah retailers can apply here and pay $50 per location and per calendar year to receive a retail permit.

All retail establishments that market and/or sell industrial hemp products must apply for and maintain a hemp retail permit with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF). Industrial hemp products are defined as products containing hemp fiber, hemp seed oil, or products containing a cannabinoid (including CBD). The retail permit is an additional regulatory step to ensure products are being sold throughout the state are safe. Retailers must ensure all products being sold and marketed within their establishment are registered with the department to ensure compliance with permit conditions. UDAF inspectors are increasing inspection efforts throughout the state and will be reminding retailers to obtain a permit and verify that all products being sold in a retail establishment have been registered for the new fiscal year.

To register as a hemp retailer visit, click Online Services (Look Up, Renew, or Forms) and select New License Application. Scroll to the bottom and select 8003 Industrial – Hemp Retail. Fill out the applicable information and proceed to the online payment. Please allow five business days for the department to send the retail permit via email.

Cody James, Manager of Industrial Hemp & Medical Cannabis: “Industrial hemp and CBD products are an emerging and popular market. Unfortunately, this market is new enough that there is the ability for illegal or unsafe products to surface. Our program has been tasked with protecting the state’s consumers and companies associated with our program. Our job is to ensure all products in the marketplace are safe for consumers. This permit allows us to know who is selling and what products are being sold in the state, and gives us a way to verify state compliance and safety of the products.” The Utah Industrial Hemp and Medical Cannabis Program began in November 2018. Regulatory requirements continue to grow as the industry develops throughout the state. During the last fiscal year the department registered over 2,000 hemp products and licensed over 250 industrial hemp producers. The Utah Industrial Hemp and Medical Cannabis Program will continue protecting consumers from potentially harmful, illegal, and falsely labeled industrial hemp products.

If you would like more information about this topic, please call the Utah Industrial Hemp and Medical Cannabis Program at 801-982-2375 or email:

UDAF Watershed Coordinator Position Available

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is seeking qualified applicants for a Watershed Coordinator position. This Richfield-based coordinator will provide technical and administrative support in locally led watershed planning efforts.

For additional information and the application process, please visit: and search “Watershed Coordinator” – the application period will close 7/23/2020.