In December, we published our final stand-alone issue of El Lechero magazine. We wish to thank the thousands of dairies who requested this magazine over its lifetime. It’s been exactly a decade since we launched this magazine for dairy managers and owners.

Cooley walt polo
Editor and Podcast Host / Progressive Dairy

Interestingly enough, for those of you who don’t remember, El Lechero was originally distributed as an insert inside Progressive Dairyman. Soon thereafter, the magazine became a stand-alone one with its own mail list for distribution due to demand for extra copies.

More than a handful of dairies requested multiple hard copies of the magazine for their employees. Most often, these packs of magazines would be broken open and distributed with paychecks or placed in the break room.

A few things are different today than back then. The digital media landscape has changed everything.

Producers and managers are now very comfortable navigating the web and locating a variety of dairy training materials, ones that suit their individual needs on a variety of topics. Where there were few of these materials available when El Lechero started, the ever-expanding Internet has proliferated their creation and made them readily available to all.


So with this issue of Progressive Dairyman, El Lechero comes full circle. To find a few pages of bilingual content (view our dictionary page and El Lechero layout page). We hope you will use these pages as training materials.

If seeing this content offends you, I’m sorry. You’re welcome to write, call or email with your concerns, but as far as we can tell, most dairies are OK receiving this bilingual content with the rest of their magazine. That sentiment is another thing that’s changed in the past decade.

Going forward, we will continue to occasionally include bilingual training tools in Progressive Dairyman. Why?

I’ll explain with a story.

Several years ago at World Ag Expo in Tulare, California, I had a conversation with a veterinarian that changed my entire perspective about training employees on dairies. I met with her to learn how we could make El Lechero more valuable to employees. Her responses shocked me.

She said the content included in the magazine was less important than the inclination of the dairy owners receiving the magazine toward employee training. In short, she said: If the dairy owner doesn’t personally care about training employees, no magazine, DVD or even in-person training is going to make a difference.

When she was asked to give on-farm training, she could tell almost immediately upon arrival on-farm if her time that day would make a difference – based on the engagement level of the owner. Not the manager, herdsman or employees, just the owner. Sound employee training begins at the top, she taught me. I didn’t want to believe her, but I’ve observed the same thing.

I know there’s about one in five readers of this publication that will be the ones to use the bilingual training materials in this and subsequent issues. If any of you are interested in having digital copy of these materials to go along with the hard copy you will receive in the magazine, sign up to receive these materials by email at El Lechero. You can also find digital archives of more than half of El Lechero’s previous editions on El Lechero.

We’d like to make these training tools as beneficial as we can. If you have a particular bilingual training tool you’d like developed for your dairy, let us know. For example, maybe you’d like to have a certain set of words or phrases translated for use in new employee orientation.

Maybe there’s a certain task or skill that is particularly difficult to communicate to a new employee. We’d love to help develop it, and then we’ll include it in an upcoming issue. If it’s something that could help you, it likely will help someone else too.

My challenge to every dairy owner is to evaluate how much importance you personally place on training your employees.

Do you delegate that responsibility to someone else? Do you outsource it? If I’ve learned anything at all from El Lechero, it’s that ownership involvement in training matters. In fact, it’s pivotal to success. Get involved. It will make a difference.  PD

Walt Cooley