Ray Prock, Jr., a dairyman from Denair, Calif., has been named the Holstein Foundation's 2014 Young Dairy Leaders Institute (YDLI) Distinguished Alumni Leader Award recipient. The Holstein Foundation recognizes one YDLI alum annually who has made notable contributions and utilized skills gained during their YDLI experience for the betterment of the dairy industry. Prock was a graduate of YDLI Class 5.
"YDLI laid the foundation for me to gain valuable experience and confidence to be the person I am today," Prock said. "YDLI was the first leadership program I was involved in and has left a lasting impression on me to this day. If it was not for YDLI I may never have gained the confidence I have to engage with complete strangers on airplanes, the internet and in public on the questions and concerns many have about agriculture and the food we, as a public, eat."
Along with the daily responsibilities on his family's Ray-Lin Dairy, Prock has been involved with several agricultural organizations, including the National Dairy Promotion board, DMI Social Media Advisory Committee, the AgChat Foundation, California Milk Advisory Board, California Dairy Campaign and several Farm Bureau groups.
One area Ray is especially proud of is his ability to use online outlets to help build and maintain an interactive, positive agricultural presence. "Through the use of various social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs, I have built relationships with many outside of farming to help build conversations and address questions about agriculture and food," Prock said. "I have had conversations with many people worldwide, helping bridge the gap between the farm and families' food choices." Through his agricultural advocacy with social media, Prock estimates that he has been able to reach tens of thousands of consumers. Additionally, Ray has worked to develop relationships with politicians from the local to national level, and has testified before the California Senate Agriculture Committee and State Assembly Committee on Agriculture.
Prock will be recognized during the upcoming YDLI Class 8, Phase III program, February 5-8, 2014, in Albuquerque, N.M. The Young Dairy Leaders Institute, a program of the Holstein Foundation, is a nationally recognized three-phase leadership and communication skills development program for young adults working in the dairy industry. For more information on YDLI or other Holstein Foundation programs, visit www.holsteinfoundation.org or contact Jodi Hoynoski, at 800.952.5200, ext. 4261 or firstname.lastname@example.org.