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View from the Cab: A local tour is always best

Members of the Kilgus family at the recent Illinois Forage Expo.

By: Kent Casson

It was great covering a statewide event that was in our own backyard this summer.

The Illinois Forage Expo, held at Kilgus Farmstead near Fairbury, brought together producers and industry representatives to share ideas and learn from each other. A panel discussion included farmers from across the state.

One local highlight was the introduction of the Kilgus family who operates the popular farm destination in Livingston County.

Paul Kilgus explained how his parents, Duane and Arlene, started the farm back in the 1950s with Holsteins. They later switched over to raising Jerseys and moved to transitional grazing. The family diversified in 2009 when they started bottling their own milk which led to other things. In addition to the grain operation of corn, soybeans and alfalfa, they raise Berkshire sows and meat goats.

“We all kind of have our own little area,” explained Kilgus.

The Kilguses enjoy rotational grazing for herd health and do plenty of baleage on the farm as they switched from chopping to wet wrapping bales.

Paul’s nephew, Matt, explained how the on-farm processing began in 2009. They felt farmstead bottled milk was a good niche. Kilgus has a non-homogenized milk to differentiate from other brands on the shelf. Some of their products include whole, two percent and chocolate milk along with cream, half and half, ice cream and the seasonal offering of egg nog.

“We’ve used a couple of distributors to help move our product,” Matt said.

The Illinois Forage and Grassland Council holds Illinois Forage Expo each summer. IFGC members include students, educators, industry representatives and forage producers. Members of the council receive a quarterly newsletter and discounted registration fees for the Forage Institute.

IFGC’s mission is to provide the framework which unites industry, producers, educational and government institutions for the production, marketing and wise use of forages and grasslands.

Membership is also available for the American Forage and Grassland Council which promotes the profitable production and sustainable utilization of quality forage and grasslands. More information on AFGC can be found at


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