The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation 2020 Farm Woman of the Year, Brandi Karisch, is a scientist, extension agent, beef specialist, spokesperson, business owner, wife and mother of two. Agriculture and cows play a huge part in not only her life, but also the lives of her husband, Matt, and sons, Mason and Miles.
“Cattle are a part of our everyday life,” Brandi says. “I spend a lot of time in the pasture with my husband and boys looking for new babies, checking cows, feeding cows or just making sure everything is okay. I think it’s really important to tell the story of our boys growing up in agriculture.”
Although COVID-19 has changed the flow of business, it has allowed members of the agriculture community, including Brandi, to put forth some creative ideas in how they share their story. Brandi hopes opening up about how they live and work to curious consumers means the true story of agriculture can be shared.
“I recently had a conversation with the PTO president of my son’s elementary school,” Brandi says. “I told her that on our farm if an animal gets sick, we want it to get better, so we give it antibiotics. I explained that we always try to take good of care of our animals. Consumers want to see what our life as farmers is actually like. We’re real people. We have problems and struggles, just like they do. Ours just involve some large, four-legged animals, where theirs might just involve a small, four-legged animal, like their cat or dog.”
In addition to being a wife, mother and farmer, Brandi also serves as a role model for students, researchers and women in agriculture through her full-time job with Mississippi State University. As one of the first female beef specialists in extension, Brandi strives to encourage others to pursue opportunities that may have only been available to a select few in the past.
“I hope to be a resource for young women in agriculture,” she says. “I hope they see some of the things I’ve been able to accomplish and be involved in and say, ‘Hey, it’s not just the guys who can do that. We can do that, too.’”
Brandi is proud to be a member of Farm Bureau and work with an organization that promotes agriculture in Mississippi.
“I’m honored to follow in the footsteps of the women who have won this award before me and to represent the farm women of Mississippi,” Brandi says.