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GENOA — For some, last weekend's Heritage Tractor Show in Genoa was an opportunity to see antique farm equipment in action.

For cousins Don Cromwell, 84, and Eugene Cromwell, 92, the show’s a reminder of how far farming technology has come.

The two grew up on family farms near each other a few miles north of Genoa.

“We reminisce about how much work it was,” said Eugene. “Now with GPS they don’t have to have markings. The tractors drive themselves.”

When Don was born in 1933, his family didn’t have a tractor and was still using horses for planting, tilling and harvesting. Even after the family got their first tractor, they still used horses to mow and rake the hay.

“The horses were smarter than we were,” said Eugene.

Eugene’s family had an International 10-20 tractor.

“That’s what I learned to drive,” he said. “I was 8 years old.”

Tractors aren't the only thing that's changed over the years. Eugene also remembers milking cows by hand.

“And I’d squirt milk at the cats,” he said. “Until mom and dad would yell at me, ‘The milk goes in the bucket.’”

The Genoa Heritage Power Association demonstrated how an old hay thresher works during the tractor show. Eugene said he ran a similar thresher for his father when we was in high school.

“Think about how much labor there was,” he said. “When we were younger, it was fun.”

Eugene kept his family’s old tractors in a shed for years.

“They were collecting dust,” he said. “My grandson said, 'Why don’t you paint them up?'"

He pulled out one of the old John Deeres, which was in pretty rough shape and expensive to repaint.

Eugene eventually gave all the old tractors to his grandchildren so they could repair them.

Don brought three International tractors to the show, including a 350 model he bought new in 1958.

Don said he didn’t take notice of the technological changes as they were happening.

“You got used to it,” he said. “Things keep changing.”

Events like the Heritage Tractor Show give the cousins a chance to look at how far farm technology has come.

“It’s scary, almost,” Eugene said.

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