As for the occasional muddy spot in the road that occasionally slows them down? It takes a team like Linda and son Chad to know how to get out of those sticky spots and back on the road toward the next project.
Asked about the success of her working relationship with her son, Linda Barber responds with an easy laugh.
“The partnership is great,” she says, explaining how she and Chad work together on Barber Bros. Dairy in Northumberland, NY. “We go to meetings together, we go to auctions together, and we make decisions together.”
She adds with a heartier laugh, “And just yesterday, when I got my dump truck stuck in the mud after the rain, he came along and pulled me out with the chopper. He didn’t get upset or anything. It was awesome!”
This dynamic duo oversees Barber Bros. Dairy, located on 1,200 scenic acres and includes a milking herd of 700. Linda and her late husband, Clint, bought the farm from Clint’s dad, William, who started the operation with his brother, Alton. The only condition? That the couple keep the Barber Bros. name.
The couple and their son Chad formed an LLC in 2010, and soon after Clint’s death in 2012, Linda retired as a teacher and went to work full time with her son, though she had always been involved in farm bookkeeping. Today, the Barber team includes Chad’s wife Amber, who supervises supplies and ordering, and handles the calves, along with their children: 15-year-old Claire, who Linda says shows a real talent for bookkeeping; daughters Chloe, 13, and Calli, 10, who help out with the calves; and six-year-old Chace. “And I see a lot of Chad in him,” says Linda.
The next generation is a constant focus at Barber Bros. Dairy. Linda and Chad recently set aside more than 460 acres to preserve it from future development. As Linda explains, Saratoga County has become a hotbed of residential development in recent years – she fears it will soon become what she calls a “condo canyon” – and the scenic vistas that greet her each day may not last, which is why they set up a conservation easement to keep the wide open spaces just that.
“It’s so beautiful here,” she explains. “When you get up, all you see are fields and trees.”
As she and her son work to protect open space, they are also constantly improving their dairy operation. They’ve planned and executed numerous expansions, and have an eye to improving the milking parlor as well as field irrigation. Like other dairy farmers, the Barbers continue to work toward an endless cycle of improvements and efficiencies, in order to continue to be competitive, successful and solvent, as they look to the next generation.
And as for the occasional muddy spot in the road that occasionally slows them down? It takes a team like Linda and son Chad to know how to get out of those sticky spots and back on the road toward the next project.