How to Address Bilingual Needs on the Farm

Walk on to almost any dairy farm today and you are likely to find more than one language being spoken. With a diverse workforce, communication is important but is often difficult when there is a language barrier. It can be a struggle to ensure that protocols and messages are being understood when there is a language barrier between people. There is also the problem of everyone having their own methods of communication and how they may teach a new employee. While some farms may bring in outside individuals to assist with training, others may turn to new technology tools that include multilingual options.  

Let’s lay out an example that might happen on a farm where a language barrier has an effect on safely and properly following protocols. 

The first day of training a new employee is a vital place where language barriers can prevent them from understanding safety and daily protocols. Not only is spoken language important with training, but visual signs located around a farm are a form of communication that may be a barrier to consider.  

Additionally, every person may have their own way of training a new employee. So outside of just getting the right message across, ensuring everyone is doing a task correctly can be a struggle. As a manager seeing a lack of consistency across the team due to incorrect training can be frustrating. 

While many farms are training staff to speak and read in more than one language, there are other options available to farms looking to improve communication across their teams. One training tool available to people is provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension. They have a variety of video training tools that can be customized to your farm and its practices. Topics covered include calf care, milking, and animal welfare. People can also attend workshops hosted throughout the year that focus on key areas of a farm. 

Aside from traditional training methods, technology is also catching up to bilingual needs for farms. Many solutions offer different languages within the software for users. For instance, BoviSync offers users Spanish, Italian, Hungarian, and Portuguese. All a person must do is select the language in the app settings. This option offers a simple way to let employees choose the best language for them. So, while a manager may assign a task in English, it will show up in Spanish for an employee on their device.  

Being bilingual on a farm is becoming more important in today’s diverse labor pool. The tools mentioned above will help not only with communication but overall employee safety. For more information about BoviSync, contact Dairy One’s Integrated Farming Solutions by emailing [email protected].