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DAA: Steven E. Smith

Steven Smith

Steven E. Smith

Elwood, IN | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 2009

Growing up on a crop and livestock farm in Hagerstown, Indiana, Steve Smith got his first introduction to hard work. His second opportunity was at Purdue University, where tight finances put him on the fast track, and he earned his bachelor’s in agriculture in just three years. Degree in hand, he returned to the family farm, working alongside his two brothers and father. Though he left that operation for other full-time work as a hog operations manager, the seed business, and a trucking company manager during the 1980s, he has always stayed somewhat involved. He soon took his management experience to a distribution management post at Red Gold Inc. in Elwood. There he was able to use his agricultural knowledge, too, as he moved into the agricultural manager position, then in 2005 became director of agriculture. This year, he celebrates 20 years with the tomato processor. “It’s great to be on a winning team,” he says of the family-owned business where he contracts with growers, assists with corporate planning, and gets involved in government affairs. Smith has served on the Purdue Agriculture Dean’s Advisory Council, Mid-America Agriculture and Horticulture Services Board, and American Fruit and Vegetable Processors and Growers Coalition. He also was an inaugural member of the Indiana Department of Agriculture Advisory Board. Outside work, Smith has been a pilot for 30 years, likes tinkering with an old tractor, and takes care of his chickens and a cow. The parents of three, Smith and his wife Kathy have also hosted three international exchange students and traveled to Switzerland and Taiwan to maintain those connections. Church activities, Purdue sports, and traveling are other favorite pastimes. “Purdue taught me how to think, explore problems, and come up with solutions. I believe, ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’ I enjoy every day of work and giving back every place I can.”