The late Norway farmer Clyde William Backman was a man of the earth.
"My dad was a seventh generation farmer and he loved farming and anything related to it," his son, Stoney, said recalling his father's farming legacy. "He was a farmer as a child and he farmed until the last week of his life. It was in his DNA."
A native of Lexington, C.W. Backman and his wife, Tarzie, purchased about 700 acres in Norway, which was known as the “Old Covington Farm,” about 45 years ago.
While he worked for Eastman Kodak, Backman farmed part-time until 1999, when he began farming full-time. He was well known for his expertise in growing corn.
He was a frequent winner in state corn and soybean yield contests as well as of national crop-production awards.
But 20 years ago, his love of farming took an interesting turn when he began collecting antique tractors after a trip to Iowa.
Over a five-year period, Backman collected close to 25 John Deere, Case, Farmall and Allis-Chalmers tractors.
Two of his oldest farm antiques are a 1937 John Deere Unstyled A Tricycle and a 1937 John Deere Unstyled B with steel wheels and hand crank.
"He has a very wide collection and diverse collection of equipment and tractors and they are all in mint condition for the most part," Stoney said, noting from the old to the new all the equipment has one thing in common. "It pulled implements through soil. It was a part of agriculture."
All of Backman’s antique tractors were bought in the Midwest and were in running condition when purchased. He had to do repair or renovation work on some of his tractors but the equipment is like new.
An active farmer until his death in October 2018 at the age of 76, Backman's inventory of agriculture is like a virtual museum of farming history.
From horse-drawn implements to a 2011 John Deere 8285R MFWD tractor and 2015 John Deere 8345R tractor, the equipment covers over a century of history.
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Now the equipment will passed on to other homes and generations through a live farm and antique auction held Thursday at 785 Willow Swamp Road in Norway.
The farm auction will begin at 9 a.m. and the antique auction will begin at noon. The auction is being handled by Rebel Auction Co. Inc. out of Hazelhurst, Georgia.
A total of 254 items are up for bid.
About 10 items are of antique farm machinery and implements including an Oliver 8-foot Horse Drawn 1 bottom plow, a McCormick-Deering 2 Horse Cultivator and an antique grain drill to name a few.
"We are very proud to share this part of our life and or heritage with the rest of the world," Backman said. "People who come out, they are not just buying a piece of equipment, they are buying a piece of us and a part of American agriculture and what it represents."
There are also 210 pieces of farm machinery and implements and about 23 pieces of heavy construction equipment for bid.
But there is more than farm equipment.
Backman had become quite the collector of antique cars.
Up for bid include a 1928 Ford Model A Sedan; a 1928 Ford Model A Roadster; a 1930 Buick Sedan; a 1931 Ford Model A Truck; and a 1931 Ford Model A Coupe.
"That was sort of the latter part of his collection phase," Stoney said, in reference to his father's love of antique cars. "He got into the Model A's and that era of automobiles. "I think like many of his generation those were automobiles he saw as a child growing up and it was a throwback of his childhood."
The family will be donating proceeds from the sale of all antique tractors and cars to several charities at the wish of Backman.
"It means something to us; it is very emotional," Stoney said about Thursday's auction. "It is not just a business transaction. It represents our family of who we are and it also represents the industry and the business we have been in and that our family has been doing for generations."
"We hope people will come and that this will be a tribute to my dad and what he worked for, but also a tribute to farmers, Stoney said.
To learn more about the auction visit: http://rebelauction.net/listing/absolute-estate-auction
Bidding can also be done online at rebelauction.net