The year is well on its way! After a very challenging 2019, the dairy community is still ready to face 365-day, 24/7 work. Dairy farmers have the privilege and responsibility to feed the world, by producing milk products – a source of high-quality protein.

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The days are long, the weather can be brutal, and it takes time, talent and passion to build a team that takes full responsibility for what a modern dairy demands. A fundamental piece of the dairy farm is you, the dairy employee. And if you are taking the time to read this letter, it is because you are a true team player, not just an employee.

I want to say thank you. Thank you for being at the farm every single day. Thank you for bringing your talents to our teams. Thank you for making us grow. Thank you for taking care of our animals, our land and our families. Your job helps us put food on the table, and I am grateful for that.

When I was asked to write a letter to you, I had a list of “advice” for how you could be better as a dairy employee. I was wrong. It took me a while to remember that we should lead by example. So let me share with you a little about me and what I can do to be better.

I have the joy of working with more than 50 people, interacting with almost all of them on a daily basis, as we try to do the best we can. We take care of over 3,500 dairy animals, and we love it! But not every day is easy. Some days it is hard to even get out of bed; my phone rings and there are challenges after challenges. Some days, I ask myself why we do what we do. Then you see those beautiful cows and calves waiting for you, and you start again. But I don’t always have the best attitude. I don’t always remember the joy it is to connect with other human beings, the blessing it is to see smiling faces, and I don’t always take the time to say thank you to my team members.


So today I want to share with you my resolutions to be a better dairy employee, a true team player and hopefully a better person.

1. Be grateful – Take the time to count and value your blessings. Say “thank you” to the co-worker who picked up your shift when you were sick or gave you a ride when your car broke down. Be grateful for the one who shared his or her lunch with you. Be grateful for the time they are spending with you.

2. Be patient – Dairying is challenging. Always stay calm, with people and with the animals. If you are in a teaching position, enjoy every opportunity to teach with love and compassion. If you are learning, be patient with yourself and your trainer.

3. Be honest – Speak the truth, not your truth.

4. Be respectful – Always. You may have different opinions, but always show respect. Do not use diminished words, always speak highly of others.

5. Honor your job – Pick up garbage. Keep your work area clean. Be on time. By honoring your job, you are honoring your co-workers, your family and yourself.

6. Go the extra mile – Always do more that what is expected from you. Do not tie your value to a salary. Give a little more every day.

7. Be humble – Be open to learn from someone else. Understand the richness of diversity and the value different points of view can bring to your life.

8. Be brave – Take full responsibility for your position, your actions, your performance. Stop blaming others, or the weather, or the cows. If you left the gate open, fix it and say it.

9. Show compassion – If someone is struggling at work, help them. Remember, we all started at zero. And we are a team.

10. Be positive – Always look for the bright side. Keep a wide, sincere smile and a positive attitude. We die once, but we live daily.

11. Be useful – Bring the solution, not only the problem. Show your capacity for thinking and common sense.

12. Be a human being – Put the phone away. Enjoy every opportunity to connect with another person.

I work on a dairy farm like you. I truly believe that by making these changes in my behavior, I can create a better version of myself at the farm and in my daily life. I invite you to take the time to think about what would make you better. Once again, thank you for your work, your time and your talents. You are bringing so much to this industry! Keep up the good work. Be the difference. Be the best version of yourself.  end mark

Rosario Ibarra