Assimilating Latino/Hispanic Workers on Dairy Farms
Larry Tranel, dairy field specialist
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.
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.
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
Page last updated:
July 9, 2006
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