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South Haven Man Collects, Assembles Historic Farming Equipment To Preserve Long Island's Legacy In Agriculture

SOUTH HAVEN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Farming has become a cultural passion for an 88-year-old Long Island man.

As CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported Monday, he's an example of living Long Island farming history.

"It's amazing what he's accomplished," said Nancy Bush, whose husband is a harvester of history.

Farming is in Ron Bush's genes.

A hundred years ago, his grandfather in Holtsville, followed by an uncle in East Hampton, owned dairy farms with hundreds of cows producing thousands of quarts of milk a day.

Ron started doing farm chores.

"I started about three years old," he said.

Since his college days at Cornell, Ron has been collecting and assembling historic farm equipment.

The family's South Haven farm is now a collector's paradise of 6,000 items, complete with an outhouse from 1860.

Their daughter Meghan is a 4th generation farmer. She runs the greenhouse.

There are two barns from 1920 and a milk house.

"They stored the milk in here as they cooled it," Ron said.

His iconic collection is a tribute to the inventors.

"It takes you back because there's so many artifacts," said Nancy.

"That's when people had to put their ingenuity into what was necessary to make life work," said Meghan.

Dairy farms are gone, and others are dwindling in the once agricultural-leading county.

"With the cost of land and labor, they no longer exist on Long Island," Ron said.

He wants to keep that legacy alive.

"The men who used this, who made these, they're no longer here," Ron said.

Ron, cognizant of his age, is in discussion with several Long Island museums that would love to become a repository of this unique kaleidoscope of history.

Five hundred visitors come each year at no charge. Ron says if you have an old tool, please bring it along!

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