Friday, May 6, 2011

We all have our idols.

Britney Spears. Wayne Gretzky. Neil Armstrong.

I won't deny there was a considerable amount of my childhood devoted to idolizing the Spice Girls. However, as I've grown older and (hopefully) wiser, I have grown to respect and admire people who are closer aligned with my own interests.

I first heard about Temple Grandin as a young kid, and I can't say I remember a time when she wasn't a household name at the Templeton's. I knew her as the woman who, almost single-handedly, created designs for humane and welfare-considerate feedlot and processing equipment. This includes curved pathways for the cattle to walk down which calms them, as their natural instinct is to circle with the herd.

Image from HBO
I was so excited to hear about HBO's new movie, Temple Grandin, when it came out in 2010. Along with my 4-H club, I watched the movie then traveled to a local feedlot designed by Ms. Grandin herself. It was amazing to hear the things she saw that needed to be changed at the feedlot when she redesigned it- from shadows to a flickering light to elimination of elements that could frighten cattle, like a jacket hanging on the alley. Temple is autistic, which in her line of work serves as a great advantage. She is able to see the threats and stresses of a situation as an animal would due to her heightened senses and dedication to understanding livestock. Temple also revolutionized the way livestock handlers treated their cattle, emphasizing the importance of treating animals with care and allowing them to live as stress-free as possible.

This January I had the opportunity to go to Denver for the Five Nations Beef Alliance Young Ranchers Program. One of the highlights of the program was an entire evening with my idol, Temple. We were treated to almost three hours of question and answer with the busy animal welfare expert, and were all able to ask questions about out own operations. Meeting her was a fantastic highlight, and I'm excited to say I'll have another chance to hear her speak. Temple Grandin will be speaking at the Tiffin Conference in Lethbridge, Alberta, in January on 2012. I'll keep you updated as the date gets closer!

Temple with the FNBA group in Denver. I'm 4 from the right.
 See Temple talk about animal handling here

Now that I've told you about mine, I want to hear from you. Who are your idols and why? 


  1. temple grandin came to our feedlot once! my parents met her...she approved of our barn set up which was cool

  2. Found your blog through Crystal Cattle. I loved that movie and I am so jealous that you got to meet her. What an awesome experience!

  3. That's awesome Karleen! She did Kasko's too, must have been in the same visit.

    Thanks for the comment, Sarah! She really is a fascinating woman. She does a lot of speaking engagements all over, so hopefully you'll be able to catch her at one!