Temple Grandin visits beef facility

When visitors to Ohio State ATI’s beef cattle handling facility learn that it was designed by renowned animal behaviorist Temple Grandin, the question that almost inevitably follows is, “Has she ever been to the facility?”

Now, at last, the answer is “Yes.”

As part of an April 17 appearance coordinated by Ohio State ATI’s Diversity and First Year Experience Committee, Grandin spent an hour talking about her design and taking questions from a group of about 50 livestock students at the facility, which was dedicated in 2012. 

She also spoke to a packed house in OARDC’s 1000-seat Fisher Auditorium, where she emphasized the value of hands-on experiences that allow students to “try on” careers. “The fabulous facility you’ve built is a great example of that,” Grandin said in her evening presentation.

For first-year ag business major Hannah Bond, Dr. Grandin's visit "was probably the highlight of my year." Bond adopted Temple Grandin early on as an idol and role model. "My parents have one of her books, and I was introduced to her through the [HBO] movie. I thought, 'Wow, how aswesome is she?'"

grandin-bond.jpgBond was one of a number of students who got the opportunitty to engage with Dr. Grandin at a pre-lecture reception. "I asked her advice on majoring in ag business," said Bond, whose family owns an 83-acre farm in Mahoning County with Southdown sheep and Irish Dexter cattle as well as grain. Grandin's advice to her? "Get out on the sheep farm, get out in the fields. Try out what you want to do." 

April Rose, a second-year livestock science major from Conover, Ohio, has had experience working cattle in both Ohio State ATI’s old facility and the new one. “The old one was a nightmare. It had open sides, which the cattle didn’t like, and we did a lot of pushing. It’s so much easier at the new facility,” where the curves and solid sides keep cattle moving calmly.

Rose, who will be transitioning to Columbus in August, hopes for a career in the food side of the beef industry. “At the handling facility, Dr. Grandin said, ‘Don’t let bad become normal,’ and that’s applicable to so many aspects of the animal industry, from genetics to facilities. There is so much we can learn from her and her work.”