Southern Utah FFA students meet agriculture authority and autism advocate Temple Grandin

Future Farmers of America students and teachers with Dr. Temple Grandin at Utah State University, Logan, Utah, March 4, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Tawney Campbell, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Future Farmers of America students from three Southern Utah high schools had the opportunity to meet world-renowned agriculture authority and autism advocate Temple Grandin during a recent trip to Utah State University.

Dr. Temple Grandin and Tawney Campbell during a private meeting with Snow Canyon High School and Desert Hills High School students, Logan, Utah, March 4, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Tawney Campbell, St. George News

Students from Snow Canyon, Desert Hills and Hurricane high schools left March 4 to attend a speaking engagement with Grandin and tour the USU College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences.

Grandin was one of the first people with autism to give insight into how people on the spectrum think through her book, “Emergence: Labeled Autistic.” According to her website, Grandin’s autism helps her understand what animals are thinking and feeling, giving her the ability to widely influence the way livestock is handled around the world through her research in animal behavior, meat production and facility designs.

“Every piece of meat you eat has been touched by Temple … She’s made that big of an impact that every industry has to have what she’s created,” Snow Canyon FFA advisor Tawney Campbell said. “Every hamburger you eat at McDonald’s was a happy cow because of Temple Grandin.”

Grandin discussed some of her research on animal behavior during her 45-minute speech at USU, after which Snow Canyon and Desert Hills students had the opportunity to ask Grandin questions during a private 20-minute meeting.

“It’s something that I won’t forget. It’s an experience that most people don’t get to have,” Snow Canyon student Katherine Mariscal said. “She’s a hero to the agricultural area.”

A student pets a calf during a tour of the Utah State University College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, Logan, Utah, March 4, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Brayden Wheeler, St. George News

The private meeting came about through Campbell’s connection with Grandin as one of her past students at Colorado State University where Grandin teaches animal science.

Campbell was inspired by Grandin at a young age when she saw her movie, “Temple Grandin.” She first saw her speak as a senior in high school when her science teacher planned a special field trip to CSU so that she could see her.

“It was really neat to have her as a professor because she’s been my role model for such a long time, and to be taught by her, face to face, it was pretty incredible,” Campbell said. “Everything I’ve learned from her I’ve used in my classroom. I use it as a teacher, as a parent, as an animal lover.”

During the trip to USU, Campbell toured the university’s Aggie Chocolate Factory in a group with Grandin and attended a luncheon with her.

The students also took a tour of the university’s agricultural department where they got to see cows being milked by machines and enjoying a massage machine. They were also able to pet calves, see cloned sheep and watch USU students practice for an infectious disease situation.

The experience of touring the campus, hearing Grandin speak and being able to ask her questions in a more private setting was both educational and inspiring for the students.

“It was just really cool seeing her and how people have treated her so horribly and, in spite all of that, how far she’s come and how many wonderful things she’s done,” Snow Canyon student Chloe Andes said.

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Twitter: @STGnews | @MikaylaShoup

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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