Welcome to the AgChat Foundation’s website! I am glad you are here and I hope you find our mission to empower a connected community of agvocates of interest. My name is Ray Prock Jr., I am a second generation progressive dairy farmer from Central California. My family has been on the dairy farm since 1972 when my parents spent their savings to buy a few cows. We currently milk approximately 500 cows in a modern dairy facility. In addition to the cows we have 130 acres of cropland that we grow 2-3 silage crops (corn, oats, and sudan) each year. The dairy also has pasture for grazing. In 2005 our family farm purchased 1,200 acres in Klamath Falls, Oregon where we grow alfalfa and oat hay to feed cows on the dairy.
From as early as I can remember, all I ever wanted to do when I grew up was to be a dairy farmer. The love and interest in caring for the animals and land was instilled in me at an early age. I have spent many a late night or early morning caring for those cows to keep them healthy or out of harm’s way. Like other farmers, I put my heart and soul into the comfort of our animals. One example I’m reminded of when shortly after my son was born, I needed to leave the hospital in the middle of the night to make sure everything was in order with the cows and dairy. I made it back to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning.
With the immense effort placed on keeping the cows healthy and comfortable I am horrified at how Agriculture has come to be portrayed at times and felt helpless to accept that others stories were more newsworthy than doing the right thing. I spent a lot of time and energy getting myself prepared for the opportunity to respond when the opportunity would present itself. Many meetings and conferences later I well versed in media responses. Something was still burning inside of me to tell my story as the media only came calling when there was a story they could sell. Well, lo and behold, along comes this little thing called social media and after a quick webinar by a dairy promotion group I was ready to tell my story.
Nearly a year later I am still as excited about social media and the various forms whether blogs, Twitter, YouTube or Facebook because I can now tell MY story the way I want to tell it. Through my time involved in social media I have become acquainted with many people who are some of my closest friends. Some are farmers, some are professionals in all walks of life yet they all have one thing in common and that is they are all around awesome people. Through the conversations that I had with these friends we all started building on each other’s passion to tell our stories and became inspired to help others do the same. The result is the AgChat Foundation.
I will leave you with the goal of the foundation as it sums everything up nicely:
The goal of the AgChat Foundation is simple: help farmers and ranchers use social media to tell their stories to the 98.5 percent of the population not engaged in the production of food, feed, fuel and fiber.
The foundation is still in its infancy and it has been an awesome ride getting to this point so why don’t you jump on board with us and together we can tell our stories the way we want them told.
Ray Prock, Jr. – California, Farmer, Secretary
Ray is a second generation dairy farmer in Central CA working to secure a future for the third and future generations to one day help feed the world as farmers. Ray sees social media as a great way to connect with others and to have conversations about what, why and how farmers feed, clothe and fuel today’s ever growing population. “The AgChat Foundation is a way to focus social media efforts across all segments of Agriculture in one coordinated effort whether farmers or ranchers, veterinarians or Extension agents, salespeople or bankers.”