History of Kleinpeter Farms Dairy

A Three-Hundred Year Family Legacy of Innovation and Values

The Kleinpeter Family endured many hardships before coming to Baton Rouge on August 12, 1774 from Switzerland by way of Pennsylvania.  Like many families, religious persecution is what prompted them to find a new home.

Traveling by flatboat down the Ohio River, then the Mississippi River, they landed in Baton Rouge with the Sharp and Ory families.  Landing in St. Gabriel near the St. Gabriel Catholic Church, they soon after relocated to the area now defined by Highland and Perkins Roads.

Jeff and Ben Kleinpeter with some of the
current Guernsey cows.

Being innovative even by current standards, historical documents show that the Kleinpeters were the first farmers to successfully grow sugar cane in East Baton Rouge parish,  and  were the first in Louisiana to have a steam-powered cotton gin.  They also had a sweet potato dehydration plant, along with a dairy farm all located at the intersection of Highland Road and the railroad tracks near Perkins Road.

When the Cows First Came Home

In early 1913 Sebastian Louis Kleinpeter, also known as “Sib” and Leon Kleinpeter, Sr., known as ‘Papa’,  started a small local dairy business by rounding up and milking ‘woods’ cows.  The well-known Guernsey Kleinpeter legacy began when the Kleinpeters learned that Guernsey cows have a gentle disposition, and give milk that is superior in taste and quality.

In late 1913 Sib and Papa Kleinpeter traveled to Wisconsin and purchased two boxcar loads of Guernsey cows.  On the train trip back to Louisiana, Sib and Papa traveled with the fifty cows which became the heart of the Kleinpeter herd, stopping every 300 to 400 miles to feed and water the cows. An LSU professor told them that they would give the ‘best milk in the world’ if fed corn silage and cotton seed for protein, a practice that Kleinpeter still follows today.

The farm in Montpelier, LA

The Kleinpeter reputation for quality milk grew, and Leon Kleinpeter incorporated the current dairy operation in 1913. The dairy was run by Leon’s five sons, with the support of another brother, pediatrician Lawrence Kleinpeter, along with five sisters and a very strong mother, “Nang”. From 1913 until four of the brothers retired in 1987, the dairy continued to grow and prosper.

Buying the Farm

In 1982, the original farm ceased operations, due to a southward expansion of the city.  Kleinpeter Dairy continued to process raw milk purchased from local Louisiana independent dairy farmers.

A happy Kleinpeter customer!

In 1997, Ben Kleinpeter purchased 1600 acres in Montpelier, Louisiana, and re-opened Kleinpeter Farm. The farm currently milks 700 cows twice a day and is a state-of-the art facility, incorporating the latest in dairy science, agriculture and conservation practices. Kleinpeter Farm is the only farm in Louisiana to be Animal Welfare Certified by the American Humane Association for the way the cows are treated. Such a high premium is placed on animal care that a current Kleinpeter television campaign mentions that ‘We love our cows.’

 Kleinpeter Today

American Humane Society LogoKleinpeter Dairy was built on the current site at Airline Highway and Barringer Foreman Road in 1955 and is the site of continual improvement. The current line of Kleinpeter products includes milk, orange juice, butter, oleo, eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, coffee, tea, punch and empty containers made on-site for other companies as well as our own, a service that was added in 2005.

Ben Kleinpeter recording a radio
commercial, telling the Kleinpeter
story.

The fourth generation of Kleinpeters to run the operation and lead the team of 130 employees are brother and sister, Jeff Kleinpeter and Sue Anne Kleinpeter Cox.  Jeff became President in 2004 and Sue Anne serves as CFO.   They feel the legacy of the sacrifices and hard work of the generations who came before them, and they work hard every day to prepare the way for those who come after them.