Cows eat at Evergreen Farm Dec. 9 near Norwood Young America, Minnesota. The herd consists of Holstein, Jersey, Guernsey, Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Milking Shorthorn and Red and White Holstein cows. 
Cows eat at Evergreen Farm Dec. 9 near Norwood Young America, Minnesota. The herd consists of Holstein, Jersey, Guernsey, Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Milking Shorthorn and Red and White Holstein cows. PHOTO BY KATE RECHTZIGEL

NORWOOOD YOUNG AMERICA, Minn. − On the outside, Julie Klatt’s 132-year-old barn looks like any other. Upon stepping inside, the barn is anything but ordinary as the stalls are filled with color.

“I was 6 when we started (having all the breeds),” Klatt said. “For 30 plus years, it’s been the legacy of this farm, and I don’t ever see us going back.” 
Klatt milks 40 cows on her dairy farm in Carver County near Norwood Young America. The herd at Evergreen Farm consists of Jersey, Guernsey, Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Milking Shorthorn, Holstein and Red and White Holstein.
The days begin at 6 a.m. for Klatt.
“The big decider for me as to when I start my day is that our milkman picks us up at 7 a.m.,” Klatt said. “I decided a long time ago it would be easier to start milking after he picked us up.”
She then goes out to the barn, feeds the cows, cleans the stalls and milks.
“I’ve always had the mindset of giving to the animals before taking from them, so I make sure they are all fed, bedded and cleaned before I milk,” Klatt said.
As a mixed-breed herd, they run about 4.7% butterfat and 3.7% protein on test.
After the herd is milked, Klatt gets ready to work off the farm.
During the day, almost every day, Klatt works at Cathy Mackenthun’s Meat and Deli in St. Bonifacius. There, she works customer service at the fresh meat counter and also slices bacon.
At the end of the day, Klatt is back to the farm to feed the cows and youngstock, clean the barn and milk.
“It’s go, go, go all day,” Klatt said. “I look at it as you get out of the animals what you put into them, and they are the bread and butter around here.”
Her sister, Katie Schwarze, and dad, Butch, do all the breeding and help with chores and hay making when available. Klatt’s mom, Pam, was the farm’s herdsperson until 2020 when she passed of colon cancer.
Klatt also runs 40 acres of small grains and alfalfa, and buys ground corn and hay for feed. No silage is fed except sweet corn silage to the open heifers, bred heifers and dry cows.
Dairy farming was a career Klatt, a sixth-generation farmer, grew up around.
“When I was 3 years old, we moved to Plato, and my mom and dad ventured out on farming on their own,” Klatt said.
 Pam was raised with registered Guernseys, and Butch grew up with grade Holsteins. However, as a cloverbud in 4-H, Klatt wanted Jerseys.
“I had always admired the Degler family in our county and a couple of the Jersey breeders around here,” Klatt said. “I didn’t want to show against my sister and my mom’s youngest sister with the Guernseys.”
At the Carver County Fair one year, the Klatts had both Guernsey and Jersey.
“We got grand champion with both breeds,” Klatt said. “Someone said to my parents, ‘Why don’t you get a breed with some competing?’”
Klatt’s parents accepted the challenge and added Holstein to the herd.
“Soon after, we were challenged of getting (all the breeds) and we did,” Klatt said.
“My mom, grandpa and I road tripped to many a sale,” Klatt said. “We have Ayrshires from New Mexico, Holsteins from Wisconsin, Guernseys and Swiss from Iowa. At one point we even had one cow from Florida in here. A couple of the Jersey cows from Texas still go back to one of the oldest herds in the nation.”
All the cows are housed in the 40-cow tiestall barn by breed.
With Klatt’s love of Jerseys, it makes sense that they are the first cows in the barn. A Jersey cow, named Impulsive, holds the first stall.
“We always joke that the cow in the first stall is the HR department,” Klatt said.
A short walk down from the Jerseys lies the Holsteins.
“We put the Holsteins in the back of the barn because those are bigger stalls,” Klatt said.
Across from the Jerseys are the red cows − Ayrshire, Red and White Holstein, Milking Shorthorn and Guernsey.
“We always liked Red and Whites because we had the Guernseys and then Holsteins, so we moved the Red and Whites in,” Klatt said.
Each cow is also given a name.
“Everything has always had a name from the beginning,” Klatt said. “It makes it easier because when I go out there, I know them by name. When they’re breeding age, we know roughly how old they are just by what name they have.”
About eight years ago, Klatt and her family started picking a theme related to how the cows are named. For the last couple years, their theme has been based off of World Dairy Expo, which pays homage to the family’s time showing at Expo for the last 40 years.
“That’s always like our closing event for the year,” Klatt said. “We go to numerous shows throughout the spring and summer, and when Expo comes, it’s the last hurrah for the year.”
Cow names used with the Expo theme for 2021, Instrumental to the Industry, include Cello, Kazoo, Piccolo, Violin, Fiddle and Trumpet. Next year’s theme is Essential Elements.
Klatt is thankful for the support her family has had in acquiring all seven breeds. She considers herself lucky to work with them all.
“I always joke that I have been privileged to work with all the breeds most of my life,” Klatt said. “I don’t have an issue with any of the breeds; I enjoy working with all of them.”
However, two cows will always have a special place in her heart, Fanny Fox and Emperis.
“Those cows made me who I am,” Klatt said.
Emerpis was Klatt’s Jersey cow that won the 4-H and FFA shows as a junior 3-year-old.
“Everybody that knows me knows I love that cow,” Klatt said.
Fanny Fox was a Guernsey cow.
“My mom and dad always tell the story of how my dad bred her that night and at 4 years old, I whispered in her ear, ‘You better settle or Dad’s going to ship you.’ And she settled,” said Klatt of the then 4-year-old cow. “She was always the sentimental favorite because it proved I was the cow whisperer.” 
Klatt and her family have taken pride in having a colorful herd, and Klatt looks forward to continuing that legacy.
“It’s fun for us to be able to take a string of cattle to the fair that is just a menagerie of breeds,” Klatt said. “We maybe don’t win, but we hold our own in our classes and earn respect in all the breeds.”