With her quick smile and no-nonsense air, Brandi Anderson is warm and approachable, with two friendly St. Bernard dogs wagging their tails by her side. Beneath that cheerful exterior, she blends fierce determination, a readiness to develop new skills, and a love of demanding outdoor work to achieve what she wants for her family.
She’s also determined to help others know exactly where their food comes from.
Brandi owns Women That Farm (also known by its acronym, WTF), a farm that raises cattle, hogs, chickens, and turkeys to be butchered and sold locally.
“If someone asks me what I do, the short answer is that I farm,” she says. “But if you dig a little deeper, this is my way to be both a stay-at-farm mom and provide an income for my family. I like to say I live the best of both worlds.”
Her world includes her husband, Nick, three little girls (ages 6, 7, and 9), and, at any one time, more than 100 head of black Angus cattle, 48 turkeys, and 350 chickens, all on their 13-acre farm near Mechanicsburg. Hogs are kept at her sister-in-law’s farm down the road. They also have two bulls (with rings in their noses), three dogs, a horse, and a cute little pony just for fun. They also have land that serves as a storage facility for their semi-truck, farm equipment, and hay near Urbana, where they are members of Pioneer Electric Cooperative.
“We raise everything here. I have a herd of cattle, and I buy weaned calves each year in the fall, along with bottle-baby calves from a local dairy to make sure I have enough cattle year-round for meat,” she says. “I also do all of our marketing, I haul live animals in a livestock trailer, and do all of the scheduling with local butchers.”
She delivers meat and eggs twice a month directly to customers at three locations in the Hilliard-Dublin-Columbus area, and she enjoys interacting personally with them. She also sets up regularly at the Westgate Farmers Market in the Columbus Hilltop area.
“I want to be the face of what you feed to your family; that’s important to me because I have kids. You’d be surprised how many people don’t know where their food comes from,” she says. “As a producer, my goal is to have the highest-quality product available.”
People place orders online, choosing from a variety of cuts and processed packages. Customers have a window of time to pick up their orders at certain stops. Brandi figures she fills about 40 orders every other week, which is about one or two cows a month.
She’s quick to admit the cattle are by far her favorite animals on the farm (they’re docile and take a long time to raise) but the chickens, not so much (smelly). Her typical day involves getting the girls on the school bus at 7 a.m., then making rounds with the animals. “I walk through the birds first; they’re the easiest. Then I check on all the cows, the mommas ready to have calves, and the cows in the pasture. Once I make sure everyone’s OK, I mix up their feed, and tackle the rest of the day.”
Brandi and Nick were high school besties who reconnected after college and married on a whim in Las Vegas after a skydiving adventure where he placed a “Will you marry me?” sign at the landing site. The two dove into farming in 2012, building on his experience working on a dairy farm and her work at an agriculture cooperative. Along the way, they raised dairy heifers and bottle-babies, and she learned to drive a semi-truck. Today, the couple, her brother, and her brother’s wife also own a manure-handling and forage-chopping business, and the guys plow snow in Columbus in winter.
Between them, the two couples have six young daughters. “It’s important for us to show the kids that hard work never hurt anyone,” Brandi says. “Nick and I are both very hard-headed, very determined, and that’s why it works. We both came from rather poor backgrounds, and our whole goal in life is to make something out of it that we want,” she adds. “He’s self-employed and I’m self-employed. I want to show that the American dream is still attainable. You just have to work for it.”
To order meat from Women That Farm, visit www.wtfmeatsohio.com. Brandi makes deliveries twice a month to three pickup locations in the Columbus area, and customers may also arrange to pick up orders right at the farm in Mechanicsburg.