Extension Logo
Extension Logo
University of Minnesota Extension

Dodge County Farm Family

Naatz Family

Karen grew up on a dairy farm. Willie grew up on a beef farm until Karen's parents hired him while in middle school. Willie and Karen became sweethearts and started dairy farming about 25 cows on their own when they were just 19 and 18 years old. They celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary in June.

Willie and Karen purchased their current farm in Dodge County in 2003 and started remodeling right away. They increased their herd size over the years to the current 250 cows. They milk in a double-10 herringbone parlor and house their cows in sand-bedded free stalls.

The Naatzes own 40 acres and rent another 28 acres. They buy most of their feed directly from neighbors out of the field or have it trucked in. Besides family, they have five other employees.

Karen and Willie are first-generation dairy farm owners, but Karen is a fourth-generation dairy farmer. The Naatzes are very honored and humbled to have received a national award the last two years in a row for milk quality. This year they were one of the top six dairies in the nation to receive the platinum award.

Willie and Karen have four boys, Tristin, Trace, Brodee and Wyatt.

Tristin is the oldest and married to River. River is employed full-time at Mayo Clinic and loves living on the farm. She enjoys raising her chickens, quilting, canning and crafting. Tristin works full-time on the dairy and owns a custom round baling business. He is a certified diesel mechanic.

Trace graduated from the University of Minnesota last spring with a bachelor of science in health sciences and is currently a licensed EMT with Dodge Center Ambulance. He also works on the farm.

Brodee graduated from high school a year ago and is currently employed on the dairy farm. He also helps his brother Tristin with the baling business when needed.

Wyatt is enrolled in online high school and works on the dairy. He is active in 4-H trap shooting and showing dairy cattle at the fair. The Naatz boys will be the fifth generation of the family to dairy farm.

The family has been very active in the Dodge County 4-H and FFA organizations over the years. Karen is currently a volunteer in the Dodge County 4-H program and sits on the Dodge County Dairy Association Board. She is the Princess Coordinator for the group. Willie has been involved with the Dodge DHIA board.

Page survey

© 2024 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.