Zack Smith is a fifth-generation farmer from northern Iowa. He is the owner and operator of Smith Seed and Agronomy, LLC, and co-founder and CEO of Stock Cropper, Inc.

Zack previously worked in seed production and chemical retail as a certified crop advisor and then as a seed rep while farming on the side. He eventually became interested in soil health and started experimenting with strip-tilling and using cover crops, which marked the beginning of his shift toward regenerative agriculture. Zack recently developed a system called “stock cropping,” a regenerative farming system that raises row crops in conjunction with multiple species of livestock simultaneously in the field. He and his business partners, Sheldon Stevermer and Lance Peterson, went on to develop the Cluster Cluck 5000, an autonomous, self-moving barn.

In this episode, Zack and John discuss:

  • The concept of stock cropping and its benefits to plant and soil health

  • Developing barns for mobile grazing that integrate multiple species of livestock

  • Implementing a rotational grazing system with frequent moves to optimize animal impact and pasture utilization

  • Developing high-quality pasture mixes using cool-season and warm-season species

  • The importance of innovation and collaboration in advancing regenerative agriculture practices

Additional Resources

About John Kempf
John Kempf is the founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture (AEA). A top expert in biological and regenerative farming, John founded AEA in 2006 to help fellow farmers by providing the education, tools, and strategies that will have a global effect on the food supply and those who grow it.

Through intense study and the knowledge gleaned from many industry leaders, John is building a comprehensive systems-based approach to plant nutrition – a system solidly based on the sciences of plant physiology, mineral nutrition, and soil microbiology.

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow
Since 2006, AEA has been on a mission to help growers become more resilient, efficient, and profitable with regenerative agriculture.

AEA works directly with growers to apply its unique line of liquid mineral crop nutrition products and biological inoculants. Informed by cutting-edge plant and soil data-gathering techniques, AEA’s science-based programs empower farm operations to meet the crop quality markers that matter the most.

AEA has created real and lasting change on millions of acres with its products and data-driven services by working hand-in-hand with growers to produce healthier soil, stronger crops, and higher profits.

Beyond working on the ground with growers, AEA leads in regenerative agriculture media and education, producing and distributing the popular and highly-regarded Regenerative Agriculture Podcast, inspiring webinars, and other educational content that serve as go-to resources for growers worldwide.

Learn more about AEA’s regenerative programs and products:


VIDEO: To learn more from John Kempf about regenerative agriculture, watch this conversation between John and three AEA grower partners about how regenerative agriculture is changing lives and conventional farming: