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Mitchell contributes to farm, community
CORINTH -- Despite jokingly being called her father’s “second son” because of her willingness to help with chores while growing up on her family’s farm, Sandy Coleman Mitchell has proven that women make valuable contributions to the agricultural industry.
In addition to raising about 40 head of beef cattle with her husband and parents, Mitchell works as Alcorn County’s Soil Conservation district clerk. She also grows vegetables, volunteers with Alcorn County 4-H, serves on the Corinth Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau board and serves as the Women’s Program Chair on her local Farm Bureau board, which carries agricultural information to local schools each year.
“I am very involved in our community, and I want to see it grow and succeed,” Mitchell said. “As district clerk, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the greatest landowners in our area. They’re concerned about soil and water erosion and take pride in their farms. I’ve seen really bad gullies transformed into structures that not only work well, but look good, too.
“I’m proud to be a part of the survey and installation of many of these practices and enjoy working in the field with our office staff when time allows,” she said.
Mitchell said her father is retired and able to tend to the farm during the day while she is fulfilling her service roles in the community. In the afternoons when she returns home, she said she checks in with her dad to see what tasks need to be done, and then she works on completing those chores each day.
“Harvesting hay, spraying, gardening, fencing and other tasks always require attention. The majority of the calves are born at our house,” she said. “I also do lots of canning and make pickles and jellies.”
Mitchell said women play a major role in farming today -- from feeding cattle to harvesting hay to keeping books for the farm and more.
“For years, women have been more of the secretaries, cooks and garden tenders for farms, but now women have gotten more involved in the day-to-day duties,” she said. “More women now own land and are making decisions for the farm. There are many positions that are traditionally filled by men, but now there are women who are beef cattle specialists, cropland specialists and soil scientists who offer quality service to landowners and farmers in our state.”
Mitchell said she appreciates the opportunity to work in her home county and help local people.
“I enjoy helping people -- from 4-H youth to senior citizens,” she said. “I love living on a small farm and working with my family to make it a success. It’s been said you don’t have to have lots of money to be happy. I truly believe that, because I don’t have lots of money, but I get a thrill out of being of service to my family and my community.”
Patrick Poindexter, Alcorn County Extension agent, has known Mitchell for 14 years and said she is a tremendous asset to the Alcorn County producers.
“She’s heavily involved in several development projects, and she sits on the Extension Advisory Council, so she is present in our efforts,” he said. “She will help with absolutely anything.”
Poindexter said Mitchell provides a positive example for future farmers.
“I think there’s quite a few next-generation farmers who look up to her as a type of role model in our community,” he said. “Everyone in the community knows she’s a hard worker and a very good person to emulate.”