Authorities are investigating a man's death after a Western Nebraska farmer found his body sealed inside a 55-gallon barrel.

The farmer spotted the barrel floating along Red Willow Creek about four miles east of Bayard on Friday afternoon. He called the Morrill County Sheriff's office after opening the barrel and seeing the body inside.

Morrill County Attorney Travis Rodak said the farmer initially thought he could make use of the barrel.

"He saw the barrel, floating in the creek and he thought it would make a good burn barrel," Rodak said.

But once the farmer opened the barrel, he immediately called authorities. Rodak said it's clear foul play was involved in the death because the lid was screwed on the barrel.

"It's obvious that it was not a suicide, or an accident," he said.

Sheriff Milo Cardenas said there were no signs of trauma on the body, and it appears the man had been dead for only a couple days.

Cardenas said there are no missing people reported in the area.

An autopsy will be done Monday at Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff. DNA tests may be needed to determine the identity of the middle-aged man who was found inside the barrel.