The Iowa Forage and Grassland Council (IFGC) recognized a Wayne County family and their farming operation – The GB Ranch – with the Livestock Forage Producer Award at the organization’s 2009 annual conference. The GB Ranch consists of family members Gene and Ramona Gibb of Promise City and their sons and their wives, Michael and Nita Gibbs, of Promise City and Ed and Danette Gibbs, of Allerton.
The IFGC award recognizes outstanding management and improve- ment of the environment and service to the livestock and forage indus- try through the production of cattle and forages.
Local IFGC board members are Iowa State University Extension Live- stock Specialist, Joe Sellers, Wayne County Soil and Water Conserva- tion District (SWCD) Conservationist, Mark Fehseke, and local forage producer and Wayne County SWCD Commissioner, John Sellers.
Joe Sellers says the Gibbs family, who have been farming in the Prom- ise City area since the early 1970’s, are very deserving of the award.
“The entire Gibbs family has done just a great job of sharing the infor- mation they’ve learned about livestock and forages,” Sellers says. “They hosted a field day/pasture walk last summer in conjunction with the Iowa GLCI Conference with more than 100 in attendance,” he adds.
The pasture walk included a weed and brush management demonstra- tion conducted by Dow Chemical, an overview of the Rathbun Grazing Project and a discussion session with the Gibbs family.
Mark Fehseke, who nominated GB Ranch, says in his nomination that the family has had a positive impact in the area with their livestock and forage management and is impressed with the quality of the forages in their pasture.
“We are so pleased with the quantity and diversity of legumes we see in our pasture,” says Gene Gibbs. “We’ve broadcast some legume seed over the years. But I think the improvement in legumes is due to applying a little lime and doing a really good job of providing rest periods in our paddocks,” he adds.
Fehseke says GB Ranch farms 650 acres of pasture and 150 acres of hay and rotational grazes their livestock. “GB Ranch uses13 paddocks with 30 to 45 day rest periods,” he says.
Gene Gibbs says the rest periods give the legumes more opportunity to grow, which has really made a difference for their cows on hot fescue.
“We’ve also seen the carbon build in our soils,” Gene says. “Of course, the cow returns 90 percent of everything she eats which is good for our farm,” he explains. “Our conception rate is where it should be and our weight gains are very good,” Gibbs adds.
Fehseke says the GB Ranch is a collaborator with the Iowa State University Rathbun Grazing Project. “This three year study monitors livestock movement in and around streams,” Fehseke says.
Gene Gibbs has served as Wayne County SWCD Commissioner for 27 years and was an assistant commissioner two years prior to being elected commissioner. Ramona has also served on the board as an assistant commissioner for 19 years.