Miguel Saviroff Honored for Commitment to Diversity

Saviroff was recognized for his commitment to strengthening relationships between employers and their Hispanic and Latino workers, empowering communication and learning in diverse work settings, and encouraging migrant workers to put down roots and begin farming in their own right in Pennsylvania. 

"Miguel Saviroff has demonstrated a strong belief that all community members must receive information they and their families need in their preferred language," said Winifred McGee, extension educator, who nominated Saviroff. 

"Having originated in Venezuela, he carries with him the ethic that education must not just be delivered in other languages, but the methods used must speak to the culture and life view of the students. As a result, he has spearheaded numerous projects, educating workers on farms across Pennsylvania about dairy and horticultural production methods."

During his 17-year career as an extension educator, Saviroff fostered better workplace communication between farm owners and Hispanic employees through his dairy labor management initiative. In a recent case, he helped a group of dairy farmers and their employees in southwestern Pennsylvania work through cultural and language barriers through hundreds of phone calls, farm visits and meetings.

Saviroff also played a key role in an initiative to translate Penn State Extension publications to Spanish, reviewing fact sheets that had been "bulk interpreted" and ensuring that agricultural idioms were correct and the text clear to the reader. His work resulted in 18 Agricultural Alternatives fact sheets being translated to Spanish.

In addition, Saviroff developed and offered the "Best Milking Practices — Hispanic Education" workshop series. These classes introduced 65 Latino participants from seven counties across Pennsylvania — representing 17 dairies and a total of 6,841 cows — to the protocols for increasing herd health and improving milk quality and safety. 

As co-principal investigator for the 2013 Director's PPI Seed Money Grant project titled "Farm and Food Business Development Education for Beginning Latino Producers in Pennsylvania," Saviroff presented entrepreneurship and farm financial management information to Latino fruit, vegetable and mushroom industry workers. These sessions were delivered in Adams County and at the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Hershey.