One family working toward one goal – building their own cattle farm from the ground up. I guess you can say Matt and Brandi Karisch were destined to be together so they could open MBK Cattle in Starkville, Mississippi, even if they didn’t realize it at first.

“We’d always ran in the same circles (at Texas A&M University), but it wasn’t actually until (Matt) graduated and left that a mutual friend kind of set us up,” Brandi said. “We were like, that’s a pretty good idea and it just kind of snowballed from there. We’ve actually been together ever since that day that that suggestion happened. We’re fortunate our families are very similar and we blend pretty well together.”

Prior to meeting, Matt and Brandi both knew they wanted to own and run a cattle operation one day. That dream because a reality as they began working together.

“When we got married I brought three cows with me – two commercial cows and a Beefmaster cow, a show heifer that had done a really good job for us – here. We started growing MBK Cattle from there,” Matt said.

The Karischs have slowly built their herd over the last seven years, turning their dream into reality.

“This is a start of our American dream,” Matt said. “Ultimately, one day, I want to be at home on the farm. We run around 50 or 60 head of Simmental, some Angus cattle, a few Beefmaster cows. Brandi and I started this on our own.”

In order to accomplish this goal, Matt and Brandi each have off the farm jobs. Matt travels across three states consulting with other cattle farmers for Purina, while Brandi works as the Extension Beef Specialist for the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

“Before I moved into my current position at Mississippi State, we already had a female beef cattle specialist,” Brandi said. “There were two of us when I started. I feel like we were groundbreaking here at Mississippi State because our two beef cattle specialists at the time were both females.  She’s since moved on to administration, so I am the lone beef cattle specialist for the state.”

The Karischs believe Farm Bureau has and will continue to play a big part in the growth of their farm as well as what farming will be in the future. That’s why they take their roles as farmers, experts, and Farm Bureau members so seriously.

“We’ve got to be able to communicate our story,” Matt said. “I guess in my mind we’re dealing with a naturally quiet group of people in the ag industry. They’re kind of salt of the earth people that just put their noses down and go to work and do their job. It’s our job as young adults and young farmers and ranchers to tell our story and show what we are doing. Show what it takes to develop that heifer right beside you or what it takes to put a piece of meat on our plate, what all we’re doing to try to feed the world.”

“When we get all of our farmers and ranchers united and bring them to the table, be it in the state capital in Jackson or be it in Washington, D.C., we’re a powerful voice,” Brandi continued. “I think that’s something really important that Farm Bureau does for us. Our involvement with Farm Bureau really got me interested in and got me thinking more about how we can have an impact on things that go on at the national scale.”

Matt and Brandi’s hard working nature and willingness to tell their story on and off the farm is the reason they were selected as the 2018 Excellence in Agriculture award recipients. They plan to continue building onto their dream with their two sons, Mason and Miles, in tow.