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Steven E. Smith, Longtime Ag Proponent, Dies at 66

Published: Friday, February 26, 2021

Steven E. Smith, a senior official with Red Gold Inc. and a respected leader in Indiana's agriculture industry, died Feb. 17 in Anderson, Ind. He was 66.

Smith, who resided in Elwood, was the senior director of agriculture at Red Gold Inc, the world's largest privately held tomato canner. He dedicated nearly 32 years of service to the company. In this position, he directed all agricultural activities from tomato variety development through harvesting. He also was involved in the company's agricultural public policy endeavors. He participated in the farm bill development, co-chaired Red Gold's sustainability initiative, was the longest serving member of the Indiana Agricultural Advisory Board, and served as a board member for Fieldwatch Inc.

Smith was the founder and chairman of the Save Our Crops Coalition. He was also active in other industry endeavors, such as the American Fruit and Vegetable Processors and Growers Coalition, Mid America Food Processors Assn., the Sysco Corp. National Sustainability advisory board, and a former member of the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Industry advisory committee.

He was named the H.D Brown Person of the Year in 2015 by the Mid America Food Processors Assn. He was also selected as the 2020 Indiana Certified Crop Adviser of the Year.

Smith was born Aug. 24, 1954. On Aug. 24, 1974, he married Kathy K. Kimes, who survives. In 1975, he earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture, with distinction, from Purdue University. In 2009, Purdue University presented him with the Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award. He has also served on the Purdue University Dean of Agriculture advisory board.

He collected Allis Chalmers tractors and was an active member of Liberty Friends Church.

In addition to his wife, survivors include two daughters, Amy Dennis and Renee Dunham; a son, Kyle; nine grandchildren; and three brothers, Max, Larry and Darrell.

He was preceded in death by a grandson, Landon Dunham; and a grandchild.

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