News

Echuca farmer killed

By Geoff Adams

The Echuca beef farmer who battled with local government over his right-to-farm on a property near an urban subdivision, has died in a farm accident.

John Watson died in a tragic workplace accident on his farm in Echuca West School Rd on Friday morning.

Sergeant John Trebilcock of Echuca police said between 8am and 9am, Mr Watson was operating a tractor, which was towing a feed wagon, on his farm.

‘‘For some unknown reason, he has parked the tractor and feeder and crawled underneath the feeder while the PTO (power take-off) was still operating and he has got caught in that,’’ Sgt Trebilcock said.

‘‘A worker on the farm thought he was a bit behind so he went to look for him and found him.

‘‘Both the feeder and tractor were operating so he’s turned them off and called emergency services.’’

Police, ambulance and the CFA attended and WorkSafe was notified.

An investigator was on the scene soon after and a spokesperson said WorkSafe was investigating.

Sgt Trebilcock said police and WorkSafe would collaborate and prepare a brief for the coroner.

‘‘It’s a tragic workplace accident,’’ he said.

Mr Watson won his battle to get a council permit to continue his farm operation, late in 2014, with a number of conditions.

Some local residents had complained about smells emanating from the property.

The VFF entered the debate to support Mr Watson, as a right-to-farm issue.