My name is Michael Pedreiro and I am the Executive VP and COO of Dairy Production Systems. I am in charge of 5 dairy farms milking 12,000 cows and employing about 190 people with a vast majority of them being of Hispanic descent.
I must say that I am appalled by the article you wrote about managing and understanding our Hispanic labor force and totally disagree. I was born (to Portuguese immigrants) on a dairy farm in California 32 years ago and have lived/worked on a dairy farm all the years of my life and have interacted with many different types of people and “cultures”. I spent my first 20 years in California and then moved to upstate New York for 2 years while attending Cornell University. I then moved to Colorado and lived there for two years, then on to Mississippi for 1 year and then to Florida where I currently reside and have been here for 6 ½ years. I have traveled to the upper Midwest, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest parts of the US and have traveled internationally to Canada, Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Sicily and Ecuador. Needless to say I have seen many dairy farms and many different types of people working on these dairy farms and I think you have grossly misinterpreted what the real problem is with Dairy owners/managers frustrations with their Hispanic workforce.
In your article you make the comment of “Americans are capitalists: we’re competitive, always measuring… We even socialize over competitive events, such as football games.” This is a true statement for the most part but have you not seen video footage of football (soccer) games in Hispanic countries where they are so competitive that they get in fights and throw objects at players on the field? Is that not a competitive culture also?
Further along you quote Gumaro Gonzalez that “Hispanics are socialistic – everyone is equal and generally satisfied with where we are” and you compare that to the capitalistic, results-orientated manner of the American culture. I don’t find this statement to be true. There are many Hispanics that come to work for us that are very motivated and have worked themselves up the corporate ladder and have gone from a milker all the way up to the dairy manager of a 2,500 cow dairy managing 36 employees! On the other hand we have "Anglos" that have been milking cows for us for 15 years and are totally uninterested in moving up the corporate ladder and have actually told us that if we were to promote them that they would quit because they are very satisfied with where they are at.