Assimilating Latino/Hispanic Workers on Dairy Farms

Larry Tranel, dairy field specialist

Issue
Dairy producers have identified profit and quality of life as being a major issue due to very low milk prices. Labor is a major issue in both profit and quality of life that has prompted Hispanic dairy workers on a few NE Iowa Dairy farms. This need is being filled but has impacts on efficiency due to cultural and communication problems. Thus, this field specialist identified this issue as an area where producers need to improve efficiency both from not only a quality of life and profit aspect, but also as a means to improve the quality of life and assimilation of Hispanic workers into our dairy culture.

Response
In response to the identified need, this field specialist responded to several requests for assistance by managers with Hispanic milkers on topics of milk quality, parlor management, cow handling, and English as a second language. In addition, this field specialist served as an interpreter to assist better human understanding of cultures and reduction of the language barriers.

Impact
To date, two dairy producers have been assisted in this process on the above topics with five Hispanic milkers. Both managers expressed gratitude of the progress made in labor efficiency and also reducing the communication barrier. Three of the Hispanic milkers were surveyed as to the helpfulness of the service, and all three responded very positively to the point that both the managers and milkers expressed willingness and interest for this field specialist to come out monthly to visit with them.

With the increasing interest in Hispanic/Latino dairy labor, a need is surfacing for cultural sensitivity training, language translation, and bridging the gap to improve the profit and quality of life of both the dairy managers and the Hispanic laborers.

Page last updated: July 9, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu