Leland Gibson is Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery’s only USDA certified organic beef farmer and resident cow whisperer in Westminster, SC. Seriously, his cows love him and are just as photogenic as he is! Some people can be overheard referring to Leland as our “Movie Star” or “Handsome” Farmer! Have you ever seen a calf or full grown cow frolick because it is so excited? It’s the cutest!
Leland has a heart of gold and adds to his herd often by rescuing undernourished cows from feedlots. Within months they are happy, healthy, and content grazing and eating all day long. Gibson Farms, along with being the first and only beef farmer in the state of South Carolina to have an Organic certification, is Animal Welfare Certified, and is a recognized farm of the intensely selective Slow Food organization. This means that not only are his cows fed well and treated fairly they are also extremely happy with their physical and emotional well-being. All of these positive attributes translate into super tender, flavorful, and delicious meat.
Gibson Farms is fully sustainable and everything that its 97 cows eat or drink come from the farm itself. The cows are 100% grass-fed and grass-finished, only eating Organic certified grass and hay from the beginning of their lives until the end. All of Leland’s cows are hormone free, antibiotic free, corn free, and grain free with natural grazing being their main source of sustenance. For treats, the cows love salt which comes from an organic salt mine in Salt Lake City. Their love of salt also meant lots of licks and kisses for us while we were there!
The Black Angus and Charolais cows that Leland raises have over 200 acres to graze on five different types of grass including clover, fescue, and bermuda varieties. The cows are rotated on the land during the warmer months in an impact grazing method that rotates the cattle every couple of days to different areas of pasture. During the other months of the year a rotational grazing is implemented with the cows being moved every 4 to 5 days. This provides the cows with plenty of grass to fill their bellies, lets the land rest and replenish nutrients, and helps to prevent a spread of parasites and disease by keeping the cows clean and away from their own manure. Leland’s squad of wild turkeys also help to spread manure around the pastures to naturally fertilize the grass.
As a third generation farmer, Gibson Farms has been in Leland’s family since 1958. Leland, however, wasn’t always a farmer and his talents and passion to positively impact our world span into many different areas of life. He is an ex-marine with a degree in Aviation Management, so add saving the world and flying planes to his qualifications! He can also build and design anything that he needs around the farm, used to own his own refrigeration repair business, and even has a side project of renovating the original Gibson farmhouse! We think that he might need to come work for us!
We are glad that he ended up being a beef farmer and a vital part of the local food movement with wanting to provide SRCG and the Upstate with sustainable, organic, and tasty beef that is raised with integrity and love. So happy to have Leland and Gibson Farms as a part of our #swampfarmer family!