Ag Expo going bilingual

By Casey Peacock: Freedom Newspapers

The New Mexico Ag Expo is going bilingual.

A three-hour dairy seminar presented in Spanish will focus on presenting information to dairy managers and workers as part of the first day of the 15th annual Expo Feb. 27-28 at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds.

The seminar features three presentations that will focus on proper feeding management, proper milking procedures and proper fresh cow treatment.

New Mexico State University extension dairy specialist Robert Hagevoort said language barriers are a common cause for confusion for many dairy workers, the majority of whom only speak Spanish.

“We’re trying to provide information for both the employees and the employers (in the dairy industry),” Hagevoort said.

Though they perform the tasks required of them, many dairy workers may not fully understand why they have to perform the tasks, Hagevoort. Bringing in the Spanish speakers will provide the platform for employees to gain a better understanding of what the tasks they perform really are for and why it is important for them to perform the required tasks, Hagevoort said.

“Many workers may get told a certain way to do things and may not understand due to the language barriers,” Hagevoort said.

Curry County dairymen George Vanderdussen agreed it is much easier for his employees to understand things if it is presented to them in their native language.
He said many of the pharmaceutical companies provide similar seminars that have helped his employees have a better understanding of the procedures that are used.
“It’s informative and gives them (dairy employees) a grasp of what’s going on,” Vanderdussen said.

A seminar in English will be presented Feb. 28 and will focus on the needs of dairy owners and producers.

“The dairymen will get a little bit of a view of what is going on today, (in the industry),” Hagevoort said.

Lunch after each session will be provided both days.