HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Kyle Van Nuys stands alongside what could be considered the original off-road vehicle, a 1941 John Deere tractor, the workhorse of American farm fields, from the Great Plains to the Mid-Atlantic states.
The owner of Hillsboro Farm says he fell in love with antique machinery when he was much younger.
On Saturday, Van Nuys invited friends, neighbors, and fellow farmers together to share their love and respect for traditional farming and the sturdy equipment that carries the burden of the hard work that it takes to plant and harvest crops year in and year out.
“These aren’t the kinds of things you see anymore,” Kyle explains. Of his collection, 3 tractors were also in the display.
From 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. on the second day of fall, the Van Nuys hosted guests from all over the state and welcomed others from as far as Pennsylvania.
The III annual Antique Tractor Show kicks off the harvest season at Hillsboro Farm, which will include pumpkin picking and their hayrides every weekend through Oct. 30.
‘Uncle’ John Warmke, whose daughter-in-law handles the baking for Hillsboro Farm’s country market, was happy to share his experiences from over 50 years as a farmer while showing off his two tractors parked alongside others on the field.
“I remember when Hillsborough and Montgomery were almost all farms. With so little farmland left relatively, it is more and more important to illustrate how people live in an agricultural setting. It is wholesome, family-oriented, and healthy living. Everyone has something to learn from this lifestyle,” he said.
Warmke also emphasized how valuable the Van Nuys’ farm business is to the community, pointing out how sparse family farms are these days.
The two International tractors he had on display were his grandfather’s Super H from 1954 and a Model 776 from 1973. Despite his retirement in 2012, Warmke intends to keep busy supporting the Van Nuys, adding to the glue that keeps the farming community tightly knit.
Bob Johnson said he couldn’t possibly miss this event. He and his wife traveled from Ringoes to spend time at Hillsboro Farm; this year, instead of showing off tractors, Johnson offered 10 flavors of homemade ice cream to visitors.
The Antique Tractor display also included hayrides, live music, and a corn maze.
The message is clear from this month’s farm festivities - with family farms nowhere near as numerous as years ago, it is more important than ever to keep a good grip on what’s left of a shrinking agricultural community and to support the local farmers whose work keeps that tradition alive in Hillsborough Township.