Brandi Buzzard Frobose is the director of communications and editor of the Red Angus Magazine for the Red Angus Association of America and co-owner of High Bar Cattle Company in Greeley, Kansas.
She grew up on a small ranch with roping cattle, horses and 4-H animals and knew since high school that she wanted to be involved in the agricultural industry. Now, from calving and fixing fence to keeping records and budgeting, she is an integral part of every aspect of her family’s operation.
How have your experiences working on your ranch influenced your growth, personally and professionally?
On the ranch, I have to get things done – whether it’s in adverse weather, overcoming equipment malfunctions, needing to bring my daughter with me or having to do all the chores with a broken wrist – the work has to get done, especially if I’ve given my word that I’ll do it. I’ve had that mindset to “just get it done” and follow through for as long as I can remember, and it just naturally crossed over from my personal life into my professional career. Get it done, mark it off the list and keep moving forward.
What roadblocks have you run into, and how have you overcome them?
Professionally, many of the roadblocks I’ve encountered have been associated with not having a degree for the sector of agriculture in which I work – agricultural communications. Consequently, I was told “no” many times early on in my career because I didn’t have any relevant agricultural communications experience. But I didn’t give up and, over time, I have pursued continuing education opportunities and done a lot of research to learn the ropes.
Personally, as a young rancher, I’ve run into many of the same challenges that others have – land availability, setting up financing and a steep learning curve. Despite the challenges, the journey of building our business and growing our herd has been even more rewarding when I look in the rearview mirror and see how far we’ve come.
Who has influenced you in your role as a rancher? Why?
Debbie Lyons-Blythe and Barb Downey are two ranchers I aspire to be like every day. They run their respective ranches, speak up for what they believe in and don’t shirk from challenges. I often think to myself, “What would Barb or Debbie do?” when I am making decisions on the ranch or am stuck in a tight spot – that mindset has served me well.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“Remove ‘can’t’ from your vocabulary.” My rodeo coach at Fort Scott Community College, Chad Cross, didn’t tolerate that word on his team, and even after 15 years, I still abide by that philosophy.
What advice would you give to other women in your field?
Don’t sell yourself short. As women, we tend to be less aggressive about negotiating or asking for what we want and deserve. Push the doubt down and go after what you want – whether it be a promotion, a new job, etc. The worst that can happen is you’ll be told “no,” and is that really such a big deal? “No” is just a minor inconvenience, an opportunity to reset and come back again with more force. Don’t allow a temporary setback to become permanent.
Who are other female role models you look up to?
Jackie McClaskey, former assistant dean of ag at K-State and Kansas Secretary of Ag, has had a big influence on my life and career and still does. She has taught me, through leading by example, how to empower other people and encourage them to use their strengths to grow and reach their potential. She’s not interested in the spotlight but has devoted much of her career to working on behalf of agriculture and building up those who will lead the agricultural industry in the future.
If you weren’t doing what you are now, what would your job be?
I absolutely love my day job with Red Angus, but if I weren’t in that role, I would spend all my time roping, rodeoing and ranching.
How do you balance work with family and personal time?
There really is no balance – that’s a massive misconception among women, especially working moms. If we give our career its needed attention, something else must slide a bit. I read an analogy last year about how we are all juggling balls in the air – some are glass, some are plastic. We can let plastic ones drop – like remembering treats for daycare, dropping off the dry cleaning or attending a work meeting after hours – if that preserves one of the glass balls. But the goal is to never drop a glass ball, because they shatter, whereas you can bounce back from dropping a plastic one. I try to keep that in mind every day because there is no magical balancing act in my life.
Do you involve your family in your work?
We are a family operation, so that means our 4.5-year-old daughter does pretty much everything with us. Consequently, she is learning about rotational grazing, life and death on the ranch, cattle rations and so much more when she is by our side. She loves riding horseback to check calves or riding shotgun in the “cowmusaki” (aka the side-by-side) to feed the bulls and has been that way since the very beginning. She started feeding cows with me in the feed truck when she was just 1 week old.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
In 2019, I was invited to the White House to speak to senior White House officials about beef sustainability on behalf of cattle ranchers. In the Roosevelt Room, right across from the Oval Office, I shared insight on why ranchers need to be included in sustainability conversations. I had never anticipated that I’d be able to use my voice and platform in that manner but will always look back on that day and smile, knowing that I did my best to represent the beef industry and leave a positive impact.