When you’re standing on Alice Sides’ front porch on the Panola and Tate county line, there are cows as far as the eye can see. Ranching is something she learned from her late father. It’s the way of life she hopes to pass down to her sons.
“From a young age, I wanted my daddy to teach me everything I needed to know to keep this place running,” Alice said. “He taught me a lot.”
The land Alice works was passed down to her from her father who inherited it from her grandfather. Today, with her sons, Sides and George, she raises cattle.
“They both own their own sets of cows,” she said. “They help me do everything. They help me work the cows and bale the hay. Sides prefers working on the equipment, while George, my youngest, likes to take care of the horses.”
According to her oldest son, Sides, the boys have to do everything they can to keep up with their mother.
“My mama is the hardest working person I know,” Sides said. “This isn’t a 9 to 5 job. It’s sun up to sun down and all through the night. It doesn’t ever stop.”
Even with the day-to-day grind and difficult work of raising 200 head of cattle, Alice knows she is doing what she was meant to do in life.
In addition to managing a cattle operation, Alice is a member of the Tate County Farm Bureau Board of Directors, where she tries to bring a different point of view to meetings and issues the organization faces.
“I’ve learned a lot being on the board,” she said. “I am the only woman in the board meetings, so I think I bring a different perspective than the men. I’ve always been around men on the farm, so it’s easy for me to talk to them and share my opinion.”
Alice also enjoys gardening, which is something she pick up from her mother and grandparents. Even with her other interests, she said it’s her cows that force her to learn and grow as a person every day.
Even though Alice would have never nominated herself as the MFBF 2021 Farm Woman of the Year, she is proud to represent Farm Bureau and Mississippi farm women across the state.
“I hope people look at me and realize, you don’t have to be a guy to run a farm and raise cattle,” she said. “I look at things a little different than a guy does, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. And, they look at me a little different because I am a woman running a cattle farm. I inherited what I have, but I worked alongside my daddy to build it before I inherited it.”