Conservation of Our Rural Roots with Caleb Smith

Jul 07, 2023
Growing up in East Central Indiana and not coming from a farming background gave Caleb Smith, our Director of Suitability, an outside perspective on the agriculture industry. He attributes endless hours playing outdoors and exploring as a child to his passion for conservation work, soil health and American agriculture. 

To talk to Caleb, you'd think he'd been in this role for many years. He has a way of  simplifying the process for growers interested in capitalizing on the ecosystem service market and articulating value in simple terms.


He received his Bachelor of Science from Indiana University in Biology, as well as Botany. He went on to Purdue University and received his Masters in Agronomy where he specifically studied cover crops. From there, his curiosity and desire to learn more about an industry that is changing at an incredible rate only exploded. 

Caleb is pictured here on this wedding day with his wife and two sisters. 
We recently sat down with Caleb on Cultivated, a podcast delivered by Co-Alliance, to talk about importance of sustainability within the agricultural industry, and the many opportunities available to growers today. Caleb's role at the cooperative is to work with growers to find opportunities for regenerative agriculture on their farm. He works daily  to make it easier for our growers to benefit from conservation practices and understand all the opportunities that are available to them within the sustainable ag space. 
“My goal has always been to have a positive influence on the world around me from a local setting.” He's doing just that right here in the heart of our trade territory each time he sits down with a farmer-member and simplifies the somewhat complicated discussion around carbon, regenerative ag and conservation today. 


Co-Alliance has partnered with multiple organizations that provide grower contracts for multiple types of ecosystem services. For each program, Co-Alliance will handle all data collection and enrollment to ensure the process is as simple and efficient as possible, all at no charge to the grower. There is also an abundance of resources about cover crops, herbicides, selecting cover crop species, and grazing cover crops. You can find all the information that Caleb talked about on our Conservation page.   

Outside of Co-Alliance, Caleb continues to find joy in being outdoors. He and his wife spend their time raising chickens, turkeys and a large garden. 



A very wise person once said you learn much more from listening than you do talking. Take that advice and listen because there was no way to fit all the wildly important and intelligent information that he shared with us in this blog. The conversation with Caleb will certainly leave you thinking, “I should probably go read up about that.”   

Join us as we sit down with one of the young, bright minds at the cooperative and discuss American agriculture's outsized role in global decarbonization efforts and how farmers can capitalize on the billions of public and private dollars flowing into this space, and the vital role that livestock should play in climate change mitigation efforts. There is a lot in this brief episode! Check it out: 


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