March 4, 2010
The Iowa Forage and Grassland Council recognized a Wayne County family and their farming operation -- The GB Ranch -- with the Livestock Forage Producer Award at the organization's recent annual conference. The GB Ranch is located in southern Iowa and consists of family members Gene and Ramona Gibb of Promise City and their sons and wives, Michael and Nita Gibbs, of Promise City and Ed and Danette Gibbs, of Allerton.
The IFGC award recognizes outstanding management and improvement of the environment and service to the livestock and forage industry through the production of cattle and forages. The Gibbs are the winners of the 2009 award.
IFGC board members who supported the nomination of the family for this award include Iowa State University Extension Livestock Specialist Joe Sellers, Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District Conservationist Mark Fehseke, and local forage producer and Wayne County SWCD Commissioner John Sellers.
Forages and cattle go hand-in-hand to help save the soil
Joe Sellers says the Gibbs family, who have been farming in the Promise 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 information 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."
The pasture walk included a weed and brush management demonstration 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.
Rotational grazing and improved practices help make forages pay
"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 moving our herds between paddocks," he adds. Fehseke says GB Ranch farms 650 acres of pasture and 150 acres of hay and rotational grazes their livestock. "GB Ranch uses 13 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," he says. "Of course, the cow returns 90% of everything she eats which is good for our farm. Our conception rate is where it should be and our weight gains are very good."
A participant in ISU Extension's Rathbun Grazing Project
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.
For more information about IFGC or improved forage production, contact Mark Fehseke at the Wayne County Natural Resources Conservation Service office at 641-872-1350.
You May Also Like
Current Conditions for
Enter a zip code to see the weather conditions for a different location.
Pros and cons of H-2A guest farmworkersNov 30, 2023
Market expectations: What's on the horizon for grain and livestock?Nov 22, 2023
18 gifts for the farmer on your listNov 27, 2023