In the late 1950’s Duane and Arlene Kilgus bought the Kilgus Farmstead land where the dairy now sits, from Duane’s father, Herman Kilgus. Duane and Arlene began raising Holstein cows, initiating a legacy that would evolve into what is now a fourth generation family farm. Over the years the herd flourished and multiplied, just like their family. After raising seven children on the farm, they are now happily retired and live in town. However, they continue their life’s work at Kilgus Farmstead to this day, giving tours, assisting customers at the store, and helping to prepare orders for delivery.
Paul & Carmen Kilgus
Paul is the son of Duane and Arlene and is married to Carmen. Paul manages the dairy side of the family business, tending to the cows’ needs on a daily basis, making sure each animal is fed the right diet for optimal health, and taking great care to ensure the overall well-being of our cow and pig herds. Paul is a steward of the land, going to great lengths throughout the year to produce high quality non-gmo feed for our animals. He also spends quite a bit of time selecting high quality genetics for our cows. In this way, Paul continually shapes the core health of our herd, the result being cows that give milk with higher amounts of butterfat and protein. These traits in turn play an important role in the rich flavors found in our creamery products.
Carmen spends some of her time in the Kilgus Farmstead Country Store, greeting customers, providing product education, and handling meat orders and inventory management. She is also the Secretary for Kilgus Dairy and contributes part-time in the creamery. Paul and Carmen’s adult sons, Justin and Trent, have recently become partners in the business and their daughter, Carla, is ten years old and loves to help her brothers and Dad with chores whenever possible. Through Paul and Carmen’s hard work and dedication to the farm, the family business matured into an agricultural tradition that their nephew, sons, and respective families would come to join them in.
Matt & Jenna Kilgus
Matt is Paul’s nephew. At the young age of sixteen, Matt proudly chose to carry the Kilgus name in farming into yet another generation. After attending community college, he returned to Kilgus Dairy becoming a full partner in the business with his uncle, Paul. He and his wife, Jenna, and their 3 children now live across the road from the Kilgus Farmstead Creamery. Matt is the devoted Manager of Kilgus Farmstead. From bottling and deliveries, to marketing and sales, Matt can always be found working hard to ensure the high quality and success of the Kilgus Farmstead milk products. Along with Carmen, Jenna plays a leading role at the Kilgus Farmstead Country Store. She also keeps the Farmstead books and develops marketing materials with Matt. Through farm tours and other special events, Jenna pours her knowledge and experience into consumer education. She teaches about the importance of farming, the enduring commitment of farmers to their land and animals, and knowing where your food comes from. Matt and Jenna’s 8-year-old daughter, Kamber, loves to help in the store. Kamber and Carla also enjoy giving tours during the summer months and showing off their favorite cows! Matt and Jenna also have a son, Collin, 5, who can be found working in the field with his daddy, and a daughter Kelsey, who is 2.
Eight years after Matt became a full partner in what was then Kilgus Dairy, it became apparent that Paul’s teenage sons, Justin and Trent, would someday soon want to pursue their own careers within the family farm business. The family wanted to create this possibility and so embarked upon an in-depth research process that would ultimately lead to the launch of Kilgus Farmstead. In 2009, after a long and determined uphill climb, the bottling facility was built and Kilgus Farmstead became the only single-source on-farm milk bottler in IL.
Justin & Kaylee Kilgus
Paul and Carmen’s oldest son, Justin, and his wife, Kaylee live on the farm where many of the goats reside. Through remarkable creativity and partnership, Justin and his younger brother, Trent, co-founded the goat meat business in their teenage years. The two young and ambitious entrepreneurs began raising a small goatherd for a 4-H project. At that time, they never could have anticipated how wildly successful this venture would turn out to be! Their goat meat business has turned into a highly sought-after component of the Kilgus Farmstead product line, securing both young men leadership positions within the family business. Justin now manages the wholesale meat division of Kilgus Farmstead, which includes sales of our Jersey beef, Berkshire pork, and goat meat products to a variety of noted, high-end Chicago restaurants. Justin also assists at the creamery in the milk bottling process. Kaylee helps to staff special events at the farmstead and especially enjoys assisting in caring for the newborn goat kids. Justin and Kaylee are the parents of 2-year-old Andrew and 9-month-old Kate.
Trent & Kayla Kilgus
Trent is Paul and Carmen’s second-born son. Alongside his brother, Justin, Trent is dedicated to fulfilling the needs of the Kilgus Farmstead goat meat business. He is also the Feed Herd Manager for Kilgus Dairy. This means that Trent is responsible for mixing and delivering a high nutrient diet ration to our dairy herd on a daily basis. Trent is passionate about the Kilgus Dairy show animals and works closely with the dairy herd’s genetics. He can also be found milking cows and tending to the needs of our calves. Trent’s wife, Kayla, is a full time dental hygienist but enjoys helping out on the family farm whenever she is able to. From milking cows to staffing the Kilgus Farmstead Country Store, Kayla is always glad to lend a hand.
Generation after generation, the Kilgus family has chosen to farm together. When we have needed to grow to include more family members, we have worked together to creatively make that happen. Now, with the success of our diversified product offerings, and unique multi-generational ownership structure, Kilgus Farmstead is proudly poised to continue indefinitely into the future.