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|Castellanos brothers: A decade of loyalty|
|El Lechero Elements - Herdsman spotlight|
|Written by Editor Walt Cooley|
|Thursday, 28 January 2010 13:47|
Manuel Castellanos had been working in the U.S. for just over a year at a lumber yard in Oregon before getting homesick. He came to the U.S. for work without his wife and 3-year-old son, who were living in his hometown of Colima, Mexico. After deciding to head south for home, he stopped in Utah to see his brothers Oswaldo and German, who were working at Mountain View Dairy in Delta, Utah. They asked if he would fill in one shift as a milker.
Manuel enjoyed the work and has since worked 13 consecutive years at the 3,000-cow dairy, earning the respect of the dairy’s owners, John and Maria Nye, and the dairy’s special bonus given to workers who are loyal for more than 10 years.
“I just missed my family too much in Oregon and was heading back,” Manuel says. “But now I don’t want to leave.”
Manuel’s wife and two children have since joined him in Utah, and he has graduated from the milking parlor to managing the outside herd health staff.
“I’ve always been a cow man,” Manuel says. “I enjoy doing what I’m good at.”
Manuel says at first he didn’t want to take the job working outside. He saw others switch from milker to outside helper and be put back in the parlor or lose their job. He knew the position meant working with herd manager Maria Nye, who isn’t a native Spanish speaker. He didn’t feel confident enough in his English skills. He didn’t want to fail.
Eventually Manuel says John and Maria’s way of training new employees convinced him he could do it; he’s been working in the hospital pen for the last four years.
“They show us how to do the work. They don’t demand the work. They are a good example of how to dairy,” Manuel says.
Manuel says he also learned the key to his success in working outside, where many other workers had failed, by watching his boss, John.
“John doesn’t drink. I liked that he didn’t,” Manuel says. “If he didn’t need to drink, then I found no reason to drink too. It’s been four years since my last drink.” Being sober helps him show up to work consistently every day, Manuel says. Both John and Maria say they value that consistency and loyalty in all their employees. They have a policy of rewarding employees who stay with the dairy for 10 years with a week-long trip to Disneyland with their families.
Oswaldo, the dairy’s feeder, was the first of the Castellanos brothers to receive the reward. He has worked at Mountain View Dairy for 14 years and started as a welder, building new corrals.
“It was a big surprise. They let me know a week before the trip,” Oswaldo says. “It was a great vacation.”
After Oswaldo and his wife returned from their trip to California, Manuel says he was even more motivated to put in more effort to get his trip, which he got a year later. German is still working for his reward.
“Our employers are really great,” Oswaldo says. “At this job, you get out as much as you put into it.” EL