We’d like you to meet one of the hard-working, multi-tasking, “super” moms in the beef community, Brandi Richards of Hereford, Texas. Brandi is a 3rd generation cattle woman with an Ag Economics degree from Texas Tech (’92). She works sun up to sun down (and then some) due to her various responsibilities including a role alongside her husband Joe in the family business, Diamond Cattle Feeders, a 25-year career in veterinary product sales (currently with Boehringer Ingelheim), and raising two daughters, Madalyn (15) and Lucy (12).
Brandi says her family is a lot like any other busy modern family, including those living in more urban and suburban settings. “My kids are very active in and out of school, with sports, rodeo and all the other expected things,” she says. “So, when I’m not working at my own job or helping Joe, I’m chauffeuring the girls around to and from practices and out-of-town games and events. We really are doing the same things other families do, yet also providing a safe and nutritious product at the same time.”
Brandi can’t estimate how just many hours she logs a week juggling these various hats but laughs and says, “It never ends . . . and I have no other hobbies.” However, the grind has many rewards and she says that “watching my girls learn from their dad and providing our employees with a solid, stable and safe place to work” are especially meaningful to her.
Read on to learn more about Brandi and what it’s like to take a walk in her boots.
Owning a feedyard: The Richards started the family business, Diamond Cattle Feeders, in 2003 and today their feedyard has the capacity to service 15,000 head of cattle, with a 2.5 annual turn. She says that might sound like a huge number to folks outside the industry, but actually “we are on the small side” and worries that the public might view their operation as “large and therefore not family owned.” But, it’s important to Brandi that “our consumers understand that not only are we a family-owned business, but that we are much like them. We want the best for our family and the best for theirs, too!”
A day in the life: “We are up and in action early. Joe gets up to head to the feedyard at 5:30 a.m., but we are frequently awakened in the middle of the night for drop-offs and deliveries. The first cattle feeding happens at 4:40 a.m., but usually the employees handle that one.” The remainder of the day is filled with riding through pens to check on cattle, trading grain, running silage, putting hay in the barns depending on weather, and too many other tasks to report. “We are fortunate to have 12 hardworking employees whom we trust to help us get all this done,” says Brandi, who also manages her sales job from a home office and calls on clients all over her territory. Brandi says the “work” day for Joe ends anywhere from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. or later, depending on the weather and other intervening factors. During the summers, the couple’s two daughters pitch in, helping with everything from the nitty-gritty of riding pens and washing water tanks to office work on the business side like data entry into Turnkey, the accounting and management solution software used to optimize operations.
Eating beef: Brandi mentions the family doesn’t have much variety (and doesn’t care to!) when it comes to the protein source in their diets – they eat beef almost exclusively. “We primarily eat at home, most things can be made much better than a restaurant. However, once I made chicken spaghetti, I don’t know what came over me, and my husband was like – why, WHY?!” Brandi chuckles and says chicken has to be doused in something to make it taste good, and since that day a chicken has never entered their house again. Her favorite cut of beef is tenderloin, but she relies on a lot of beef stew meat in the crock pot for easy weekday meals. In the warmer weather months, the family is big on grilling.
Favorite beef recipe: “Sprinkle a generous amount of Cavender’s Greek seasoning and black pepper all over a tenderloin. Soften a stick of butter and smear the entire amount over seasoned tenderloin. Cook in the oven until an internal temperature of 120 F (if waiting several hours to serve) or 140 F (if serving right away). Wrap in foil and a towel and stick in a cooler if serving later in the day. Otherwise, let it rest a few minutes before slicing. Should take approximately 40 minutes.”
Favorite place to get a burger: Hickory Inn Café in Vega, TX or Coyote Bluff Café in Amarillo, TX