Barbland Dairy Farm of Fabius, NY was started in the 1950s. The farm was not always a dairy farm. In fact, it began as a potato farm, but the owners quickly realized that the area was not ideal for growing potatoes. The farm transitioned to raising beef and then eventually made the switch to dairy.
Barbland Dairy is owned and operated by three different families. The partners on Barbland Dairy, Chip Engst, Bret Bossard, and Luke Huysman have no relation and up until about twenty years ago, weren’t even acquainted. Luke began working for the dairy in high school. To gain some different experiences, he took a position at a farm in Geneva, NY before returning to Barbland. Bret met Chip Engst when he interned at his farm in 2003 while attending Cornell University. In 2008, Luke returned to Fabius and the partnership at Barbland Dairy between Chip, Bret, and Luke was formed.
Today, the three gentlemen and their families make the daily operations of the 4th generation dairy work efficiently; Bret is the farm’s Herd Manager, Luke is the Crop Manager and maintains the equipment, and Chip handles the farm’s finances and other office work.
The farm is currently milking 2,300 cows and cropping 4,800 acres of ground in and around Fabius, NY. The families at Barbland want the public to know that just because their farm is rather large doesn’t mean it isn’t a family owned business! “Large farms get a bad rap, but we want people to understand that they are family operations (with) multiple families rather than just one,” says Bret Bossard, part owner at Barbland. “Growth of a farm is what works to make a farm sustainable for the next generation and for the financial well-being of the business,” he adds.
Luke Huysman, the farms crop and machinery manager, has been a member of the Barbland farm team since the early 2000s. Barbland crops 4,800 acres of corn, alfalfa, and a variety of grasses. The farm is fortunate to be working very nutrient rich soil that requires minimal inputs and supports high yields. Soil health is very important to Luke and the “crop crew” at Barbland so they make every effort to treat the soil well and are always working to be good stewards of the land.
With that many acres it is crucial to have a strong staff at the farm. Barbland is proud to employ 42 people on a full-time basis and an additional 12 people seasonally during harvest! Dairy farms like, play an important role in helping communities flourish and families grow. Barbland strives to create a working environment that their employees and their cattle enjoy.
The farm is actively supporting their community with on farm educational tours. Barbland provides local school and church groups, boy/girl scout troops, and Syracuse University Business students with the opportunity to learn about dairy farming first-hand.
Johanna Bossard is a full-time Agricultural Science teacher at a school near their farm. She, like her husband and the other partners at the dairy, are very passionate about educating the public and the next generation. Johanna runs the farms social media platforms where her daughters frequently make an appearance to teach their audience about life on the farm. Be sure to follow them for fun farm facts and happenings on this great dairy!