Eye on Agribusiness
Owners: Ray and Sheila Gibson
Location: El Dorado Springs, Mo.
History: Seven years ago, St. Clair County, Mo., natives, Ray and Sheila Gibson started Gibson Feeders.
Ray spent 28 years working as a general contractor for commercial buildings in Kansas City, Mo. When the stock market crashed, Ray moved back to the farm and with Sheila’s encouragement, started designing mineral feeders.
Their first design was a spray mineral feeder. They were expensive to produce, so Ray removed the spray component and perfected the feeder to the design he sells today.
Products and Services: Gibson Feeders are sold throughout the United States and are known as the “bull proof” mineral feeder. All feeders are built to order by Ray and Sheila in their shop. They offer three sizes depending on the herd size and type of animal the customer is feeding.
The 4-foot and 6-foot feeders are the most popular among beef producers and are designed to fit in the bed of a truck. The 6-foot feeder weighs 900 pounds and will hold 650 pounds of loose mineral. The 4-foot feeder weighs 700 pounds and will hold 350 pounds of loose mineral. Ray and Sheila recently started building a smaller, shorter version for sheep, goats and deer.
Quality materials and superior construction is the key to their durability. Each feeder is assembled from Missouri Oak and contain 80, 4-inch ceramic coated Power Pro lag bolts and 24.5-inch through bolts with nuts and washers.
“They are not nailed together. The only screws in the feeder are in the concrete board and in the ridge cap,” Ray explained.
Another unique aspect is the roof is not metal and the floor is not wood.
“We use James Hardie concrete board because the other thing I did not like about the other feeders is they put a tongue and groove floor in them and the wood shrinks up. The mineral gets in the cracks, spoils and is hard to clean out,” Ray said, noting the concrete board is easier to clean.
“That (metal roof) was the first thing the cows rubbed off and I picked up out of my pastures,” Ray remarked.
Ray engineered the feeders to last a lifetime. “They are invincible. This is not your ordinary wood mineral feeder because there is not another one like it,” he said.