Scott Smith (third from the left) stands with his wife Terri (far right), daughter Shanie and nephew Glenn on the family farm. The Smiths are busy planting 3,200 acres of corn, soybeans and processing tomatoes for Red Gold.
Scott Smith (third from the left) stands with his wife Terri (far right), daughter Shanie and nephew Glenn on the family farm. The Smiths are busy planting 3,200 acres of corn, soybeans and processing tomatoes for Red Gold.
WINDFALL, Ind. — Scott Smith prioritizes his life by keeping faith, family and farming at the top of his list.

With all three of these in mind, he entered and won the Beck’s Hybrids “Why I Farm” Competition, part of a movement to tell the stories of American farmers.

What he gained from the experience turned out to be much more than a chance to tell his story. Smith and his family gained the opportunity to help others in need. They donated part of their winnings to two causes.

Smith shared his experience, and the reason why he farms, with AgriNews:

Q: Why do you farm?

A: It’s the love for faming and where my roots are. Both my parents and grandparents farmed, and it is what I grew up doing. I am very fortunate to be the third generation of our family farm and given the opportunity to pass this to our children and grandson. Every season is a new challenge, and some years are better than others. But you endure it.

You remember farming is bigger than you. What you do benefits so many people, including yourself. It’s a gift God has given us the ability to do. That’s why I farm.

Q: Why did you decide to donate to others, after winning “Why I Farm?”

A: There was never a question of donating, but just of how we would give back.

I read the story of Joshua Jank on the Why I Farm website and viewed his televised story. After watching it, I was touched. Joshua who has a terminal illness, but the dying desire to help a 13-year-old boy named Jing find a family to adopt him. I saw it, and I felt a conviction to help him.

One of my longtime employees lost his wife to cancer in March, so we also wanted to help him. He lost his health insurance that he was receiving through her employment. Now his health insurance is covered for the year.

Q: Does it feel good to give back?

A: It is always a blessing to “pay it forward,” to help someone else in need.

Q: Tell me about your farm.

A: We grow 3,200 acres of corn and soybeans, including seed beans for Beck’s Hybrids and processing tomatoes for Red Gold.

My sister-in-law, daughter, nephew and wife all work here. We have many seasonal workers return here, too.

Q: What are some of the challenges of farming?

A: Many things — weather, marketing, labor, just to mention a few. Also living a balanced life. You can have a tendency to be a workaholic to the point where you don’t take enough time for family, church or a little relaxation.

But there are seasons for everything. And it’s planting season, so we’re really all-in to plant. But on the other hand, there are things like Mother’s Day that you need to take time out and enjoy. I make sure everyone who works here gets time off. But we still work hard.

My daughter says, “We don’t quit when we’re tired — we quit when we’re done.”

Q: How has farming changed in your lifetime?

A: Technology. Today we use mechanical harvesting instead of handpick for the processing tomatoes we grow for Red Gold. Reduced tillage passes, global positioning equipment for accuracy and rates used for prescription fertility, pesticide applications and planting rates. All of these things are sustainable farming investments for the future.

Q: Is it important for farmers to have a voice in the community?

A: Yes, nobody can tell the story of food production better than the farmer who grows it. We plant the crops and see it from the beginning to end. It is a blessing to see God’s work at hand.