JEROMESVILLE: Tractors are a commonplace piece of machinery in rural Ohio, and there are many kinds.

There are standard tractors, farm tractors, precision agriculture, row-crop and garden tractors.

Andrew Baldner has a unique collection of 25 tractors.

Baldner, 26, is a Jeromesville resident who has been collecting tractors in the seven short years since he graduated high school, but the interest started at a young age.

“What started it all was a garden tractor, a John Deere lawn mower, when I was probably 10 or younger,” Baldner said. “That’s what I played with and thought was cool. It transitioned into bigger stuff. Now I have 25.”

The garden tractor was his grandfather’s. Baldner is close with his grandparents and visited every summer and eventually started helping out with chores. He said he really liked the sound of the machines and, from then on, started buying tractors.

Baldner said it isn’t just about the tractors, though. His favorite part is the implements, because keeping them alive and working is “preserving the history of farming.”

The tools that do the work do not get shown too often at shows, just the tractors that pull them, so he tries to take his to shows as often as he can.

“A lot of this stuff doesn’t get used anymore. It either gets turned into scrap metal or gets thrown in the weeds or fence row, and doesn’t get taught to the younger generation,” he said.

About everything he owns is used except for a couple older machines that are not so user friendly.

One piece of farm equipment Baldner owns is from the Mansfield Reformatory: a 42 combine. It was one of the machines the prisoners used to run the farm on their work duty.

“From there they traded it to a dealership, and the guy I bought it from in an auction bought it from someone before him, so I’m the third owner,” Baldner said.

Baldner owns a couple of other unique pieces of farm machinery, including another 42 combine that holds the record for highest dollar amount ever sold in an auction ($2,000), a 49 and a John Deere diesel 70, his favorite tractor.

“It’s one of the nicer ones I have, but I have a thing for 70s. I have three of them, but this one just happens to be a diesel. That was the first tractor my grandpa had was a 70,” he said.

The 49 is one of the most “collector” items he has. It was made in the first week John Deere started making that model, “the 49th one made.”

Now that he’s older, he hopes to one day take over the 64-acre family farm and take care of his tractors, the sheep and the goats.

Baldner’s girlfriend, Katie Siegenthaler, and mother, Kelly Schlechty, helped clean up the tractors before the Eastern National Expo X at the Wayne County Fairgrounds this past weekend. He had a lot of help from his dad, John Baldner, and friends to get the tractors there, including the man who sold him his first tractor, Bill Ries.

“I think it’s the toys that started it,” Schlechty said. “Then he got a 70 lawn tractor. From an early age that’s what he was about. Farming and tractors.”

Siegenthaler also owns three tractors, and she and Baldner have made several trips and been to several shows together to go get them. They once went as far as Hershey, Pa.: an eight-hour trip one-way. He also bought one in Michigan and one from the Ohio-Kentucky border.

“It’s pretty interesting because you meet some very unique people,” Siegenthaler said.

For instance, one tractor Baldner bought came from the cousin of a man he once sold a corn picker to.

“I sold a corn picker to this guy eight years ago, never thought I’d see the guy ever again. Saw an ad on Facebook, a tractor for sale for a good price, so I called the guy and got to talking with him. Turns out, this guy was cousins to the guy I sold the picker to,” he said.

The tractor’s journey comes full circle because the man Baldner sold the corn picker to owned the tractor at that time, and now Baldner talks to the two of them frequently.

Though he does spend a lot of time on his collecting hobby, he is employed at Schaeffler in Wooster as a tool maker, where he will be until he gets closer to his goal.

“This is my vacation on the side of trying to take over the family farm,” he said.