Investigators from the state Department of Agriculture are on the lookout for pest-ridden potato seeds in an effort to protect Nebraska's potato industry.
Two of the state's three potato inspectors recently quarantined nine boxes of potato seeds at a Lincoln True Value hardware store because the store's owners didn't have paperwork needed to prove the seeds were free of the Columbia root-knot nematode worm. The pest eats roots of plants like grasses, legumes and cereals.
Nebraska farmers only grow about 20,000 acres of potatoes each year, but the state provides potato seeds to the rest of the industry.
Ag Department spokesperson Christin Kamm says they take seriously the need to protect Nebraska's potato industry.