Dylan Barber works at his family dairy farm in Cortland County.
Dylan has watched the ongoing Dairy Crisis put over a dozen of his neighbors out of business. It has an impact that affects the whole community when farmers can no longer spend money at other local businesses. He says the situation leaves farmers with 4 options: Get bigger, go out of business, try to make things work, or diversify. The Barbers chose to diversify.
As it worked out, hemp was the best crop to add to their dairy operation. It yielded the most profit per acre and required an amount of work that they could manage with the rest of their operation. Another key reason Dylan chose to grow hemp was its hardiness. The plant doesn’t require any commercial fertilizer or pesticides. “Put it into good soil and it grows on its own,” he says. Hemp was also perfect for Dylan who enjoys starting new endeavors and learning about new crops.
Dylan’s favorite parts of being a farmer are taking care of the land and the animals, working alongside his family, and being outside. He says it’s not an opportunity many other people have and he couldn’t imagine doing anything else.