Recent Denair High School graduate Kyle Prock was born and raised in the small, rural town just east of Turlock, so he knows a thing or two about agriculture. His family owns and operates a dairy and beef ranch, and Prock’s grandfather and uncles were involved in Future Farmers of America in high school, even serving as officers. So, it was no surprise when Prock was recently presented the school’s highest agricultural honor, the DEKALB Agricultural Accomplishment Award.
“I’ve always been connected to ag,” said Prock. “I’m kind of keeping the family tradition, the legacy alive.”
The DEKALB award, sponsored by Monsanto Company, is awarded to students who exhibit an excellence in academics, leadership and agricultural work experience. Throughout his high school career, Prock was not only active in the DHS FFA chapter, but found success in athletics as well. He has received each FFA degree available in California, from the Greenhand FFA Degree to the State FFA Degree, which is given to the top members of a State FFA Association, and was a valuable member of the DHS football, wrestling and baseball teams.
“I am so proud of him,” said DHS FFA Advisor Molly Hanson. “It’s a reflection on the community and the hard work our little town can produce and put forth. It’s really special to see someone like Kyle persevere and win something.”
During the 2016 football season, Prock was injured in the first quarter, dislocating his knee and injuring tendons in his leg. Unable to play football or wrestle in the upcoming season, he was able to come back in the spring and play baseball. Luckily, he said, he was still able to spend time with his teammates thanks to agriculture, since many of his fellow athletes were also in FFA.
“At other, bigger schools, you’re either an athlete or in FFA,” said Prock. “It’s cool because at a small school like Denair, you’re able to be an ag kid and a sports kid.”
Thanks to FFA, countless doors have opened for Prock. Because of his success in the program, he has received more scholarships than he can count from organizations like Hilmar Cheese Company, Yosemite Farm Credit, Denair Youth Football and the Stanislaus and San Joaquin Cattle Women’s Association.
“The FFA has taught me to be more of a people person. I’ve learned a lot of good leadership traits, and the hands-on classes that I took helped me to get better at things you wouldn’t in an English or History class,” said Prock. “The vocational aspect of FFA is what I would say taught me the most.”
Currently, Prock is taking summer courses and playing football at Merced College, and he plans on transferring to Fresno State in two years where he hopes to graduate with a major in Ag Business and minor in Beef Science. One day, Prock wants to become an agricultural real estate appraiser, and the FFA has prepared him for his future career.
“Not everyone wants to be a farmer, but if it weren’t for farmers or ag, the world would be a lot worse off,” said Prock. “The FFA is a once in a lifetime opportunity that every kid and every school should experience.”