For this year’s recipient of the Joyce Wedgeworth Outstanding Woman in Agriculture award, agriculture means spending time with family.
Twenty-two years ago, Charmaine Chappell moved to Deadwood with her husband Brad and son J.W. “to enjoy life in the country,” she said. They now manage more than 300 acres for timber and wildlife conservation, including pine plantations, natural generated pines and bottomland hardwoods.
“When J.W. was in high school he raised show hogs,” Chappell said. “At one point, we had 40-plus pigs in the barn, and it took all of us working together to care for all of them. We traveled to jack pot shows and enjoyed visiting with other families who were also involved with the FFA. My husband and I enjoy spending time together maintaining our property, feeding wildlife, admiring the best of what nature has to offer and hunting deer and feral hogs.”
Chappell said agriculture has always interested her, and she’s been involved in it for all her life, before she even realized some of her activities were part of agriculture.
“I enjoy gardening, canning vegetables and making jelly from fruits raised in our small fruit orchard,” she said.”My mother and grandmothers canned, and they both passed their knowledge on to me. I have many wonderful memories of time spent together in the garden and kitchen. I look forward to sharing my knowledge with my daughter-in-law, Allyson.”
Chappell was surprised and honored when she was selected as this year’s outstanding woman in agriculture at the annual Panola County Agriculture and Forestry Appreciation Banquet. She said she appreciates being recognized for the work she does on her property and in the community.
Her accomplishments in agriculture are many.
“Establishing a fruit orchard from the ground up,” she said. “Growing highly productive personal gardens, including when I learned with amazement just how productive 80 tomato plants can be when grown where pigs were raised. I bottle fed an orphan piglet from birth, who turned out to be a very affectionate companion. I even took Little Orphan Annie into the Panola National Bank so tellers could see her. Learning the basic steps of successful forestry from beginning with the importance of proper site preparation needs, to purchasing quality pine seedlings, to insuring proper planting of seedlings and the significance of effective marketing.
“I think my biggest accomplishment has been supporting my family during the many projects we have undertaken on our farm during the past two decades,” she said.
Chappell also works as the business manager at Beckville ISD, and she manages to incorporate agriculture into her role there as well.
“I have (the) great opportunity to work with our ag teachers and watch our students grow and mature in the field of agriculture,” she said. “For years, I have worked in the sales office of the Panola County Junior Livestock Show helping organize the office, helping buyers register for the sale and (helping) anyone wanting to add money on to a student’s projects. It’s amazing to observe students reap the rewards of their hard work.”