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Crop Dusting Near Nursing Home Sparks Health Concerns

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 235

Concerns for the health of Knox County Nursing Home residents may put a stop to a request to use crop dusting methods near the site.

Representatives of the Nursing Home raised the concerns last week when a farmer asked permission to use the technique.

Knox County rents cropland adjacent to the Nursing Home in Knoxville to an area farmer – who has, in the past, raised soybeans.

Due to the farmer’s intent to farm corn this year, crop dusting may lead to higher yields. But because the Knox County Nursing Home is a residence for the elderly, respiratory and other health concerns could result.

Nursing Home Committee Chair Lyle Johnson tells WGIL the request will be denied.

“We’re hoping that he understands the situation that we just can’t have something like that for air quality,” says Johnson.

Self-admittedly, Johnson says there is nothing in the contract between the farmer and the County that would prevent crop dusting.

Nursing Home Administrator Rachel Kehr is responsible for denying the farmer’s request, but should the farmer insist, the matter could be sent to the Knox County State’s Attorney’s office.

Considerations were made to close the Nursing Home’s vents, but state statute requires certain air circulation requirements in the building to ensure the health of residents.