Member Profile: Barlas Feeds

Written By: Brytann Busick
Published: December 1, 2019

Located in the north end of Petaluma, just off the Boulevard, Barlas Feeds has been a feed store, grain and hay facility for the past 30 years. Reminiscent of Petaluma during its heyday as the egg basket of the world, Barlas Feeds is actually located in an old chicken barn.

The Barlas family of Petaluma originally owned Barlas Feeds. In 1996, John and Lynn Cunningham were looking for a business that could complement Cunningham Bros. Hay Brokerage, which is owned with brother Charlie Cunningham and R.O. Shelling Grain and Feed. Barlas Feeds was a perfect fit.

In the past, Barlas Feeds exported feed and hay to many places around the Pacific Ocean. In the early 2000s, however, the Cunningham family decided to move away from the export business and instead to focus on retail.

Today, Barlas Feeds has a broad selection of high-quality hay, grains and pet food for all types of customers. Whether you are looking for one bag of dog food or 200 bales of hay, Barlas has a wide range of products available. Store shelves are lined with livestock show supplies, leashes, collars, locally made soap, pet treats, and much more.

Barlas Feeds’ trucks deliver to customers across Sonoma and Napa Counties, as far south as Santa Cruz and as far north as Eureka.

“Some of our most popular products hays are alfalfa, orchard grass, timothy hay and an 80/20 blend of orchard and alfalfa,” Rocco Cunningham said.

Cunningham is the Operations Manager and the son of owners John and Lynn.

“I graduated from Cornell University in 2014 and moved to Texas to work for Cargill as a commodity broker,” Cunningham said. “In 2016, I moved to Florida to work for Suwannee Valley Feeds for logistics and large-scale commodity brokering.”

He and his wife Betsey moved back to Sonoma County in the fall of 2018. Cunningham said he always knew he would return home.

“I learned so much and gained a new perspective after living out of Sonoma County for several years,” Cunningham said. “I am excited to be back in Sonoma County to bring my experiences and the things I’ve learned back to my community and family business.”

Cunningham said that he most enjoys working with diverse customers, helping to meet their needs in a timely manner and supplying quality products at an affordable price. He attributes much of the company’s success to its dedicated employees.

“Our six employees make the Barlas team feel like a family,” Cunningham said.

Dominic Balistreri is the General Manager. He joined the Barlas Feeds team full-time upon graduation from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2015.

“I enjoy working for Barlas Feeds because I am able to work for a growing company with a family atmosphere,” Balistreri said. “Barlas seeks to serve its customers as if they are friends or family. We strive to put customer service first and provide the highest quality products we can.”

Cunningham said that Ben Gardner is also a huge part of the team.

“People describe Ben as charismatic, fun, and hard-working,” Cunningham said. “Our customers are always sending us compliments about Ben’s customer service.”

The team at Barlas is focused on customer service and consistency of products.

“Our team is fortunate to be a part of the larger agriculture community,” Cunningham said. “Agriculture is so diverse here in Sonoma County and being part of that community and helping support other ag businesses is something we take a lot of pride in.”

Cunningham, who is a fourth-generation member of the agricultural community in Sonoma County, said that he is proud that Barlas Feeds plays a role in serving farmers and ranchers in the North Bay.

“I appreciate the Sonoma County agricultural community and its rich history,” Cunningham said. “I look forward to continuing the family legacy, developing and deepening my relationships with others in the industry, and being a member of the network of great people in agriculture. “

He said that Barlas Feeds is a Farm Bureau member because of the tight-knit community.

“As a Farm Bureau member, I enjoy networking with like-minded industry peers and professionals,” Cunningham said. “Farm Bureau membership helps me to stay connected and up to date with issues facing farmers and ranchers. Recently, we were happy to be at the other end of the line when Farm Bureau called asking for help during the Kincade Fire.”

During the Kincade Fire Cunningham and the Barlas Feeds team stepped up to help those in need.

“We were able to mobilize livestock supplies quickly to those directly affected by the fires and also to those that were evacuated,” Cunningham said. “Our focus was in the livestock realm.”

The Cunningham family and the team at Barlas Feeds values community involvement and service.

“We like to work with local 4-H and FFA groups, participate in Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s Ag Days and we hope to grow our community outreach as we grow our business,” Cunningham said.

He said that the agricultural community and the Sonoma County Farm Bureau provided him with many opportunities as a young person and that in the future he would like to do the same thing for other youth in agriculture in Sonoma County.

Cunningham said that he hopes that Barlas Feeds will continue to grow into the future.

“We want to be the first livestock feed supplier that people think of when they want high-quality products and premier customer service,” Cunningham said.

Barlas Feeds is open Monday- Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Saturday, 8:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. and is closed on Sundays.

For more information or to place an order please call (707) 763-7055 or email barlasfeeds@gmail.com

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