Temple Grandin Shares Inspiring Message to Crowd of 300+ in Broken Bow

Temple Grandin Shares Inspiring Message to Crowd of 300+ in Broken Bow
Autism advocate and expert in humane animal handling, Temple Grandin speaks before a crowd in Broken Bow at the One Box Convention Center on Sept. 25. Photo: Kim Blackburn

BROKEN BOW—Hundreds of central Nebraskans absorbed the inspiring message shared by one of the world’s leading experts on humane animal handling and an outspoken advocate for autism awareness, Temple Grandin.

Grandin shared stories of growing up with autism, her success in revolutionizing the U.S. meat industry, and the encouragement of family members, teachers, and mentors at events in Broken Bow and North Platte this week.

Thanks to the sponsorship of MPCC’s Student Life and Business and Community Education departments, Custer Federal State Bank, Adams Land and Cattle, Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) and Bruning Bank, event attendees were able to attend free of charge.

Kaci Johnson with MPCC in Broken Bow said more than 300 people from various walks of life were able to not only listen to, but relate to Temple Grandin’s message.

“I was really thrilled to see the turnout that we had. We had farmers and ranchers; we had FFA kids and 4-H kids. We had families that came that have been impacted by autism and I think that the message that she sends is just so uplifting,” Johnson continued. “Temple does not pull any punches she really tells you like it is and she will let you know what her thoughts and feelings are on any topic. And that’s just kind of refreshing to hear someone who is so respected in her field be able to just really inspire people to be better and be better people—that’s really what she’s all about.”

Whether specific to the topic of autism, animal behavior and handling, or anything in between, Kaci Johnson told KCNI/KBBN she was excited for people to see Temple Grandin free of charge and learn more about topics important in our everyday lives. In particular, Johnson said she visited with an ag teacher from Fullerton who drove in and took notes during the event to take back to her students.

Event attendees had the opportunity to visit with Temple Grandin. Photo: Kim Blackburn

“I think she [Grandin] just really hit a lot of points that people in our area can relate to. She talked a lot about employment and the workforce and how “kids these days” (you kind of hate to use that term, but kids these days) need that training and hands-on classes and activities that really help weave them into the workforce better,” Johnson said.

In a 2013 TED Talk, Temple Grandin spoke about the importance of not being limited to verbal language but encourage those who think in pictures and symbols—something her rare form of autism allows her to do, much like animals do.

“I get satisfaction out of seeing stuff that makes real change in the real world. We need a lot more of that and a lot less abstract stuff,” Grandin said in a 2013 TED Talk.

Indeed, Grandin has helped make real changes in the world in the areas of autism and science and engineering. Leading up to becoming a New York Times bestselling author, professor of animal science at Colorado State University, and the subject of the movie Temple Grandin, she invented holding pens, alleyways, and walkways that allow cattle to be processed in less stressful, more efficient, and safer conditions. In the almost 50 years since its adoption, more than half of the cattle in U.S. feedlots and slaughterhouses are handled through the serpentine chute.

Hundreds of people listen to Temple Grandin at the One Box Convention Center. Photo: Liz Babcock

Temple Grandin visits the Adams Land and Cattle feedlot on Monday, September 26 with Adams Land and Cattle President Abram Babcock, who was a student of Grandin’s at Colorado State. Photos courtesy of Liz Babcock.