At Gibbs Farms in Cleburne County, everything is done with one goal in mind — producing the best SimAngus breeding stock in the beef cattle industry.
“For us to be successful, we have to make our customers successful,” said Wendell Gibbs, who is the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year for Alabama. He was named Alabama’s Farm of Distinction winner in April, automatically making him the state’s representative in the southeastern contest.
A farmer for 55 years, Gibbs started with 40 acres of land. Today, his 1,750-acre ranch stretches from Ranburne, Alabama, into Georgia, and the family owns a custom grazing operation in Mississippi.
Each year, on the second Saturday of November, Gibbs Farms sells about 350 SimAngus bulls and heifers at an annual production sale, and another 50 bulls are sold private treaty. Additionally, Gibbs furnishes semen and stud services from 32 herd sires and retains ownership on about 100 steers sent to Kansas feedlots.
“We have never felt the need to do everything,” Gibbs said. “But whatever we do, we want to be really good at it, if possible – the best.”
As Alabama’s Farm of Distinction winner, Gibbs received a John Deere Gator from TriGreen, Snead Ag and SunSouth dealers; a $1,000 gift certificate from Alabama Farmers Cooperative; and an engraved farm sign from Alfa Insurance. He will also receive a $2,500 cash award and an expense-paid trip to the Sunbelt Expo from Swisher International of Jacksonville, Florida, a $500 gift certificate from the Southern States Cooperative and a Columbia vest from Ivey’s Outdoor and Farm Supply.
Gibbs is now eligible for the $15,000 cash and other prizes that will go to the overall winner at Sunbelt.
As a pioneer of the SimAngus breed, Gibbs continues to invest in raising superior beef cattle.
The family developed customized feed rations based on scientific testing; designed integrated pastures and working facilities for their heifer and bull development programs; built a state-of-the-art sale barn; and follows strict herd health and breeding programs, which include DNA testing.
The Gibbses safeguard the environment by utilizing pads, gravel and geotech fabric in high-use areas; fencing out streams and ponds; and minimizing herbicide use by maintaining healthy forage stands.
Wendell and wife Nan farm with their son, Doug, and grandson, Bradley. Their daughter, daughter-in-law and other grandchildren also are involved part-time on the farm.
Wendell Gibbs is past president of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association and Beef Cattle Improvement Association.
The overall winner will be announced Oct. 18 at the Sunbelt Expo in Moultrie, Ga.
For more about the expo, visit SunbeltExpo.com.