Using Social to Put the “Culture” back in “Agriculture”

Jamie Vander Molen @jamie_vm and Ray Prock @rayprock

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Jamie Vander Molen @jamie_vm and Ray Prock @rayprock

Jamie Vander Molen, DMI @jamie_vm and Ray Prock, DMI @rayprock

Jamie van der Molen, Community Manager at Dairy Management Inc., and Ray Prock, Board Member at Dairy Management Inc. and real live farmer, join the Social Pros Podcast this week to discuss the growing and powerful presence of the agriculture industry in social media, humanizing the dairy industry, and how America feeds its families.

Read on for some of the highlights and tweetable moments, or listen to the full podcast.

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Tweetable Moments

“We need to put the ‘culture’ back in ‘agriculture.'” -@rayprock (tweet this)

Creating Transparency

This episode of Social Pros comes to you live from AgChat’s National Agvocacy 2.0 Conference. The agriculture industry is actually quite progressive in its use of social media to connect to the public and its customers. It has become a primary way for them to disseminate information and foster open, transparent conversations about the issues facing our food production.

Dairy FarmRay points out that 2% of society is farmers, so Dairy Management Inc.’s goal (or part of it) is to not just let farmers tell their story but to help them do so.

This is important especially in a society so generally removed from the farming process. Consumers are increasingly interested in where their food comes from, so social media fills a real need by connecting those people with the farmers growing their food. As we all know, companies are made up of great people, and social media lets that shine through. Humanization, as ever, is essential.

Amplifying Content

Jamie and her team write blog posts for, but they also have a team of “Dairy Advocates” – including farmers and registered dietitians – who help them amplify the content.

The blog has an interesting level of complexity with the range of topics it covers. Farmers have to wear many hats during the course of their work: scientists, environmentalists, sustainability experts, animal healthcare specialists, etc. The blog mirrors this range of topics.

Going forward, they would like to get even better at creating connections between local farmers and other ordinary people. They’re a national initiative, but they want this national industry to get back to a more local focus while the market increasingly goes in that direction, as well.

Four Your Information

How did you get involved with social media?
Jamie has always been a communicator, attracted to the fast-paced nature of social media. She started working on a dairy farm and worked her way up to interning at DMI before landing at her current position.

Ray participated in #AgChat the Twitter chat before it became a foundation. Twitter was new, and they noticed that there wasn’t enough agriculture in that space at the time.

What do you like best about social media today?
“The two-way street, that’s the biggest thing,” says Ray. He loves the flow of information that can go in multiple directions. Jamie finding the appealing nuggets of ideas that people gravitate towards and share.

What do you like least about social media?
Jamie gets frustrated with the fear or hesitation that comes along with social media. “You have to have fun with it,” she says.

Ray warns against the dangers of siloing oneself in social media. People run the risk of only hearing what they want to hear from their small group of like-minded individuals. When people lose that balance, it can exacerbate some of the negative movements against agriculture, etc.

If you could do a Skype call with any living person, who would it be?
Ray goes the emotional route and chooses his son, who was playing a baseball game the night they recorded Social Pros (the first game Ray had missed since last October). Jamie goes with Jared Cohen, Director of Google Ideas.

See you next week!