Farmer, neighbors settle noise lawsuit

By Greg Kocher

NICHOLASVILLE — A Jessamine County farmer has stopped the use of a noisemaking propane cannon to shoo away birds from sweet corn, thus ending a lawsuit filed by neighbors who were disturbed by the blasts.

The suit, filed last year in Jessamine Circuit Court, was settled earlier this month between farmer Dennis Polley and his neighbors in Hickman Creek Pointe, a rural subdivision.

The neighbors had said the noisemaker’s intermittent blasts devalued their properties and prevented them from enjoying their homes.

But Polley and his family contended that the noisemaker was necessary to ward off birds from sweet corn grown and sold at a roadside stand about 3 miles east of Nicholasville.

”Basically, Mr. Polley agreed not to do that any more. So we said that’s fine,“ said Bobby G. Wombles, the Lexington attorney who represented the neighbors.

Polley didn’t use the propane cannon this summer. ”For which my clients are very grateful,“ Wombles said.

The cannon Polley used is a device that sits on a tripod. It allows a regulated amount of propane to flow and, at a set interval, the timer triggers a spark that ignites the propane, causing a bang.

Polley said Thursday that he has found a new repellent. Holographic tape flashes and crackles in the wind, discouraging birds from landing in the corn.

”It works pretty good, as long as the wind is blowing,“ he said.

Polley is happy to have peace with his neighbors. One is a good customer of the produce business which is now operated by Polley’s son.

”I think it ended about as well as it could,“ Polley said.

Greg Kocher covers Jessamine County for the Herald-Leader. Reach him at (859) 885-5775.
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10 Comments on “Farmer, neighbors settle noise lawsuit”

  1. Anonymous Coward Says:

    I’m sorry the farmer settled. If I were an attorney i would have represented Polley free of charge and would have dragged this on for years at no cost to him.

    “Rural subdivisions” are a bad idea to start with, and my guess is these so-called neighbors moved out to the country, completely unaware of the inconveniences and realities of country/farm life.

  2. Patricia Matthis Says:

    I, too, am disappointed that the farmer”settled”. But can certainly understand why.
    The reality of country living is that it has it’s own noises with which to contend. No sirens, but propane cannons….I guess it all depends on which one wants to hear, and well , at least the cannons are seasonal. However, I AM happy that Mr. Polley has found an alternative that works for him. I just pray that the persons living in that rural subdivision won’t find something “NEW” to complain about next year. Perhaps the sound of mooing cows, or perhap the crowing of a rooster, or even the smell of live stock!!! Folks really need to realize that the country IS the country, and it’s on the backs of farmers like these that we are able to get fresh produce , eggs, and much of what we need to live. There are all too many people that think we get beef from the grocery, or tomatoes from the market, and NEVER truly realize just what it take to provide these items.

  3. Joe LeDuc Says:

    I agree with Anonymous Coward. City folk move to the country and expect the farmers to change their ways to accommodate them. I hope it never happens, but they might change their attitudes if they could no longer purchase products grown on farms.

  4. Troy Says:

    If you were an attorney, AC, I would begin to worry about the state of our society. Your guess is simply a guess — and a bad one at that.

  5. Troy Says:

    Also — I don’t see how ANYONE can equate propane cannons with the sound of mooing cows. There are a number of methods that can keep away birds that don’t emit extremely loud sounds. The farmer even moved over to an effective method that doesn’t rattle the countryside. If this were your place, I bet you’d be filing suit as well. Also, the majority of food is imported…so…yeah.

  6. Jim Says:

    No on should have been able to tell these farmers how to farm. They were only doing what was necessary at the time. I don’t see the farmers going to the offices of these people telling them how to do their jobs. Farms are in the country, not the city, so instead of city noises (which never stop) you have farm noises, which only last as long as the work needs to be done. But sadly many city folks are moving to the country and taking over. I’d like to see them work just 1 day as a farmer, doing everything they have to do…….they’d never make it thru. and they may gain some respect for the farmers.
    As for imported food….most of what people in the USA eat is produced in the USA. although that may not last much longer the way our farmers are being treated. But the farmers will continue to eat local food, cause they’ll sell off the majority of their farm, keep a nice 5 or 10 acres, continue to raise their own produce, beef, pork, & chicken for themselves. With them having the only good clean food to eat, they’ll outlive the city folks and maybe take over their own farms again!

  7. Delano Massey Says:

    Good to see you guys having good dialogue. Let’s try to refrain from name calling … or at least refrain from swear words.

  8. Anonymous Coward Says:

    Troy, the only people who would sue a neighboring farmer for making loud noises are litigious, tassle-loafered, McMansion-dwellers who think the purchase price of their pretend country “estates” include immunity from actual rural life. These are the same kinds of people who’d buy a lot next to a hog farm and THEN complain about the smell, or who’d buy a lot next to an airport and THEN complain about the noise.

    If the neighbors wanted the farmer (who was there first) to stop making loud noises, the neighborly approach would have been to offer to to compensate him for any losses he would incur by not using the cannons. Divided by several houses, this compensation would have been a pittance.

    But no, the neighbors decided to use legal intimidation instead, and that’s why – if I were a lawyer – I would have stepped in and helped the farmer as much as I could. I don’t like bullying on the playground OR in the courtroom, and I’m sorry for society that people are willing to look the other way.

  9. Delano Massey Says:

    Anonymous Coward, that was a very well stated, intelligent response that tactfully addressed the situation without resorting to a personal attack … and it contained no swear words. Excellent.

  10. Troy Says:

    I agree — let’s support all farmers at any cost. Bring back the lottery! We need a good harvest!

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