After serving four years in the U.S. Navy, Brandli earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from the University of Minnesota. During that time he worked for 3M and Control Data companies. In 1973 he and his wife, Nancy, began farming in northern Minnesota, raising wheat, barley, sunflowers, canola, soybeans, and grass seed. At one time, they had a 130-head cow/calf operation. In retirement, Brandli is managing a transition from production agriculture to forest and wildlife production for the new owner.
Brandli has chaired several boards throughout Minnesota including a university advisory board, a local supply cooperative board, a statewide farm marketing cooperative board, the Wheat Research and Promotion Council, and a regional foundation. In addition, he chaired the national Wheat Foods Council and served on the U.S. Wheat Associates board. He also serves on a multi-state biotechnology board.