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Pioneer Dairy Club Partners with English Language Program
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 09/28/2017

A group of University of Wisconsin-Platteville dairy science students are finding a way to improve the communication between English and non-English speaking employees on southwest Wisconsin farms. Last spring, the Pioneer Dairy Club began partnering with Mela Lewandowski, coordinator of the UW-Platteville English Language Program, helping students learn basic Spanish words and phrases that are relevant to the dairy industry.

"The Hispanic community is such an integral part of the agriculture industry," said Dr. Tera Montgomery, an associate professor of dairy and animal science and club advisor. "When we originally pitched the idea of this program to our students, they were immediately excited and on board."

At the beginning of the program, each student received a dairy terminology book, fully funded by the dairy science program. From there, they worked with Lewandowski to learn Spanish words, phrases and technological terms that may come up while working on dairy farms with members of the Hispanic community.

More than 20 students from the Pioneer Dairy Club participated in the bi-weekly program's first semester. While some students had a brief knowledge and understanding of the language, others were starting from scratch.

Meanwhile, members of dairy club will be able to showcase their new skills at a special business meeting next month at Cottonwood Dairy in Darlington. While there, the students will have dinner with owner Jim Winn, the farm's Spanish-speaking employees and other local farmers and producers.

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