In June of 2009, the first jugs of Kilgus Farmstead non-homogenized, single-source, all-Jersey milk rolled off the line, and our value-added product had been born. We found out quickly that when you throw a new product out in the marketplace, you have to get out and educate the public about it and convince them to buy it. The first several months was a learning curve, until we got a sound market established and a good handle on how all the processing equipment worked. The startup days created a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of stressful days until we got things running smoothly.
Nearly five years later, we can look back and believe that stressful period was worth it. Creating a value-added product has created a family enterprise, allowing us to grow our family farming operation and include more family members in the business. It has also is a rewarding feeling to see your own brand of milk sitting on the supermarket shelves.
Matt Kilgus and his uncle, Paul, are co-owners of Kilgus Dairy and Kilgus Farmstead, Fairbury, Ill. Paul and his son Trent manage the dairy herd, which includes 130 registered Jersey cows, 75 calves and heifers and 50 steers. The herd’s milk goes to Kilgus Farmstead, managed by Matt and his cousin Justin. It is the only single-source farmstead milk bottling plant in Central Illinois.
Products (whole, 2%, skim and chocolate milk, heavy cream, and half and half) are sold at retail outlets within 150 miles of the farm. For more information, visit www.kilgusfarmstead.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.