Cobar Dairy LLC

Mount Upton, NY
350 acres
200+ cows

Commitment to fresh air

When Mike Barnes started farming in central New York in 1978, he had seven cows. “I worked my way up from there,” he says. He and Tammy met through Future Farmers of America while they were in high school and were instantly connected through their commitment to farming life. “I just knew I could never work inside,” Tammy says. Several decades, one farm, three kids and five grandkids later, they maintain an enduring love for the outdoors and working in agriculture.

Co-operation all around

The farm’s name changed from Barnes Farm to CoBar Dairy, short for “the cooperation of the Barnes family.” They’ve installed solar panels that provide hot water for the calf barn and main barn and protect the environment with cover cropping plus carefully managed crop rotations and nutrient applications. “Every day’s a new challenge working outside with the animals and the crops,” says Mike, who is also on the co-op board. From that broader view, he adds, “We’re all in this together. It’s a team effort from the farm to the [processing] plants to the sales team.” At the end of the day, “We all have to work together to make this a viable and vibrant industry,” he says.

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