Alltech has recently partnered with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Dairy Extension and Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach in the United States to develop a free, online training programme that is available in both English and Spanish.

"The Bilingual Training and Education Program to Improve Practices That Affect Milk Quality" has been designed to help dairy farm employees better understand the how's and why's of handling and milking cows.

"The dairy industry is dependent on an immigrant labor force that needs to be educated so they can be efficient in their jobs," said Jorge Delgado, on-farm dairy specialist responsible for Alltech's Training, Talent Development and Retention Program. "Better education and training also help increase employee retention. Education satisfies an employee's drive to comprehend and is critical for dairy employees to be capable of doing their jobs correctly.

"No matter the experience level, proper training improves skills and reduces mistakes or actions based on either misinformation or a general lack of information."

After completing each training module by viewing the short accompanying videos and resource materials, participants will complete a quiz to receive a certificate of completion for each module.

Each training module includes videos presented in Spanish with English subtitles. The quizzes are offered in both English and Spanish, and the Spanish quizzes include audio translation. The videos include demonstrations of on-farm practices to emphasise key milking and management techniques.

"The employees who manage the milking should thoroughly understand the milk production cycle, the milking procedure and the importance of bedding material and animal hygiene to improve milk quality and udder health," said Jennifer Bentley, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. "Results from previous surveys indicate that employees are more successful in their jobs and employee retention is higher if the training is (offered) in their native language. This milker training resource will provide producers and employees with the tools needed to make positive changes in milk quality and cow health and well-being."

"By utilising this resource, farms have the potential to increase employee retention and motivation while also reducing turnover and increasing employee efficiency and dairy profitability," said Delgado.

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