Smith submitted an essay on Indiana's leadership in energy awareness to the Dick Lugar/Indiana Farm Bureau/Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance Companies Youth Essay Contest.
The contest, themed "Energy Aware -- Energy Independent," asked students to write how alternative energy sources affect farmers, and ways that farmers can contribute to solving the energy problem in Indiana and around the country.
Smith's essay, which explained the importance of using crops like soybeans and corn, won the county level contest.
"When I heard I won the county contest, I was pretty excited, because I tried my best on it and spent a lot of time on it. I hope to do as well in the district competition as in the county," Smith said in an e-mail interview.
The essay will now be judged at a district level, and district winners will be invited to the Indiana Farm Bureau State Convention in Indianapolis on Dec. 7. State winners will be announced at the convention.
Smith's interest in energy reform began long before writing the winning essay.
"I got a solar panel from my dad and he connected it to a small fan, and I would see what type of light would make it work," Smith said about his first grade science fair project.
"I also used hydroelectricity in another experiment and built a small dam," he said.
Smith's mother, Jamie, praised Kole for his innovative ideas, and called him, "a pretty bright kid."
"Alternate energy is important to me because I realize that we will need these alternate energy sources in the near future since fossil fuels will be gone. We need to use fuels that occur naturally, such as ethanol. We need to find a reliable source now," Smith said.
Smith, whose favorite class is Social Studies, has also thought about the community's role in energy reform.
"Community members should be interested in alternate energy sources because they are going to need alternate energy sources in the near future, so it would benefit them to find reliable sources now. They should also be interested because, if we find a good one, then it could help make heating and gas prices become lower," Smith advised.
Smith will receive another reward for his essay. Through a family connection, a copy of the essay will be autographed by Sen. Lugar for the author.