In March 2020, when the world hit pause due to the pandemic, many of us found solace in the simplest things. Food, for instance, suddenly became more than just a meal; it became a bridge connecting us to our roots. And that's where Clint and Kelly Brandlee, the heart and soul of Back Forty Beef, come into the picture. Their journey from ranchers to beef-selling heroes is a tale of resilience, community, and a dash of unexpected adventure.
The seed of directly selling their beef to consumers had been planted long before, but when COVID-19 threw a curveball, the Brandlees knew it was time to seize the opportunity. With unwavering support from their tight-knit rural community, Back Forty Beef was born.
Back Forty Beef is a nod to tradition and family roots. Clint's grandfather's tales of the "back forty," the rear piece of land where he grew up, inspired the name. With the name decided, the Brandlees kicked off their journey by forming an LLC, creating a website, and venturing into the world of social media. But it wasn't all about growing a virtual presence; they also hit local farmer's markets that summer, laying the cornerstone of their customer base.
Kelly Brandlee reflects, "Being present consistently is key to growing a customer family." Despite their rural setting, Back Forty Beef defied distance by shipping their products right to doorsteps. Urban customers looking for that farm-to-table experience could now have it delivered to their homes. But Back Forty Beef wasn't just about beef; their innovation game was strong. Tallow candles joined the lineup, turning leftover beef fat into another stream of profit.
The Brandlees aren't your ordinary ranchers. They embraced technology with open arms, using GPS for precision planting. By transforming an unused patch of land into a corn maze they developed the Back Forty Beef Adventure Farm in collaboration with the South Dakota Beef Industry Council. This new venture, opening soon, includes farm animals, a hay tunnel, and a corn pit as well as a farm store—offering local pumpkins, their signature beef, and more locally sourced goodies.
Kelly's advice to aspiring entrepreneurs? Do your research, take the plunge, and don't shy away from change. "Pivot" is the buzzword here. Who would've thought that a beef business would evolve into a signature candle line or adventure farm? But Back Forty Beef goes beyond mere beef sales; it's an embodiment of Kelly and Clint’s experiences, affection, and connectedness, thoughtfully conveyed to doorsteps across the community, one step at a time.