Six long tables filled the meeting room, as 120 people sat down to Mexican food and some equally spirited discussion.

For me, the meeting  that night at the Grange Hall in Hilmar, Calif., was an educational (and somewhat humbling) event, because it was one of the few times that I can ever remember being in a “language minority.”

The presentations were in Spanish, since most of the people in attendance were Hispanic dairy managers and employees.

I caught on to some of the phrases, such as “sitios para inyección” (injection sites) and “consulte con su veterinario” (consult with your veterinarian). But I didn’t understand many of the other things said.

It made me realize how important it is to communicate properly across different cultures and languages, especially when dealing with topics as critical as animal health, personnel management, calf care and milking protocols.

We at Dairy Herd Management are doing something about it. Beginning in April, we will include a bimonthly insert called Manejo Lechero in issues that go to veterinarians, nutritionists, extension specialists and farms with more than 500 cows. Others can go to our Web site at and preview it or order a hard copy online.

Manejo Lechero will surpass the dual Spanish-English translation pieces that you may have seen in other venues. We believe the content will make a big difference, addressing compelling topics that we have identified as a result of research into the needs of Hispanic managers and employees.

And, we have formed a partnership with Jorge Estrada, president and CEO of Leadership Coaching International and an expert on dairy-workplace issues involving Hispanics, to provide content for Manejo Lechero. Estrada and his team will work closely with the Dairy Herd Management editors to provide you and your employees with the best information possible.

This month’s issue of Dairy Herd Management includes a column by Estrada on the need for consistent human-resource policies across different farm sites. Further installments will appear on a regular basis.

I watched with interest as Estrada led the discussion that night at the Grange Hall. He engaged the audience by asking questions and responding to any comments made. He was very credible with the predominately Hispanic audience.

We look forward to even more interaction when Manejo Lechero debuts in April.