John Rosenow on staffing a dairy farm with immigrant labor
Rosenholm Dairy owner John Rosenow describes experiences with and enthusiasm for hiring and training Spanish-speaking immigrants to maintain day-to-day operations at his dairy farm in Cochrane.
By Aditi Debnath | Here & Now
January 18, 2024
Twenty-five years ago, we hired our first Mexican employee. We did that reluctantly because I didn't know the language, I didn't know the culture. I wanted to hire locally, but there wasn't anybody left to hire that was hireable. And all the people that were left were the ones that, when they come and interview, you'd open up the door, they'd open up the car door, and the cans would fall out, and you'd call up their references, and the references would say, "I would never hire him again." So, we were at our wits end, and then we hired our first Mexican and Manuel, and he just did such a fantastic job. And when he left, I hired two more, and now we have three or four families that are working here. Whenever they are ready to go home, they stay four or five years; and whenever they're ready to go home, they'll replace themselves with their son or their brother or their cousin or something. And so, I no longer do any hiring. They replace themselves. They train their replacement. My biggest problem years ago was labor, and now it's no problem. And I, now, one of the technologies that I use is on my word processor with Word, Microsoft Word, I can type up the day's activities, and I can highlight it, and I go up on top, it says, "Translate document," and boom, I've got the document, and I print 'em out and I set 'em out. I can communicate so much better now because of that. And so, in that sense, technology is really, really great.