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Middlebury man dies in farm accident

BRANDON — A member of a well-known Vermont farming family was killed in a tragic accident in Brandon last week.
According to Brandon Police, James H. Foster Jr., 47, of Middlebury, was working at a farm on Hollow Road on Thursday, Sept. 21 with two co-workers from his business, Vermont Natural Ag Products.
The men had arrived at the farm just after 11 a.m. with a loader on a flatbed trailer, towed by a dump truck.
Police said that after removing the loader from the trailer, Foster began working to release the brakes on the trailer in order to move it with the loader. Partial work had begun in disconnecting the trailer from the dump truck although the two were not disengaged from each other. Foster’s co-worker, Scott R. Bouton of Shoreham, entered the dump truck to pull it away from the trailer not knowing Foster was on the ground working on the trailer to release the brakes. The vehicle pulled forward causing a fatal head injury to Foster.
Foster was treated on scene by members of the Brandon Area Rescue Squad and transported to Rutland Regional Medical Center where Foster was pronounced deceased. Both Bouton and another co-worker were checked by rescue personnel due to the trauma of the event.
The accident is still under investigation. Police do not believe alcohol or drugs were a factor.
Foster was well known in the Addison County farming community. His family owns and operates Foster Bros. Dairy on Lower Foote Street in Middlebury, as well as Vermont Natural Ag Products, which is well-known for its product Moo-Doo, a very successful line of all-natural cow manure compost products. Foster was secretary of the farm operation and vice president of operations at VNAP.
Foster’s uncle Bob Foster, with whom he worked at the farm and VNAP, said he and his daughter were filling in at VNAP now that Jim Foster Jr. is gone.
“He left some big shoes to fill, that’s for sure,” Bob Foster said.
Jim Foster Jr. was the current president of the Addison County Fair and Field Days Board, and was a member of the Vermont FFA Foundation and the Central Cemetery Association.
A 1988 graduate of Middlebury Union High School, Foster received his Associate’s Degree in Ag Business Management from Vermont Technical College in 1990. He furthered his education at Kansas State University and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science in 1992.
Foster is survived by his wife, Tricia, of Middlebury, his parents James and Joyce Foster of Middlebury, his children, MaKayla, Caleb and Jocelyn Foster, all of Middlebury, his sister Karen Foster-Baccei and her husband David of Middlebury, and by his brother Mark Foster and his wife Nicole of Middlebury.
A celebration of Foster’s life will be held on Thursday, Oct. 5, at 1 p.m. at the Congregational Church of Middlebury. A full obituary appears on Page 6A.

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