Jim (left) and Peter Heinen milk 32 cows on their dairy near St. Joseph, Minn. They own farm land within the city limits of St. Cloud, Minn.
PHOTO BY MARK KLAPHAKE
Jim (left) and Peter Heinen milk 32 cows on their dairy near St. Joseph, Minn. They own farm land within the city limits of St. Cloud, Minn. PHOTO BY MARK KLAPHAKE
    ST. JOSEPH, Minn. – May is typically a busy month for farmers, with planting crops for the year and catching up on projects cut short in the fall. The Heinen brothers were racing the rain clouds May 7 to finish harrowing their oats before the forecasted precipitation.
    Jim, Peter and Mark Heinen milk 32 cows in an old stall barn near St. Joseph, Minn. The barn was built in 1886 by their great-grandfather, Joe Heinen, who homesteaded the land.
    The whole farm site has character and charm, and the house, built in 1863, is where their grandfather, also named Peter Heinen, was born.
    In the 133 years the barn’s been standing, it has never been empty.
    “My dad got sick in 1975, and sold the milking cows, but we still housed beef cattle in here,” Peter said. “After dad passed away, Jim and I bought dairy cows again.”
    Peter and Jim have been dairy farming together since 1977. On May 7, their day began at 6 a.m., with mixing feed silage and preparing for milking.
    “We mix our silage with mineral and soybean meal,” Peter said. “After milking, we feed the cows hay.”
    They milk between 30