Ag & Business Day means Temple Grandin, annual After Birth Ball

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MEEKER I Saturday activities in Meeker will be educational and entertaining for nearly everyone, whether your interests are business, agriculture or good old-time dancing and dining fun.
Agriculture, general business education, the “State of the County” address and renowned livestock handler and autism expert Temple Grandin are all on the agenda during the day, followed by the After Birth Ball Saturday night.
Sponsored by the Meeker Chamber of Commerce and the Friends of the Meeker FFA Alumni, the second annual Ag and Business Summit will run from 9:30 a.m. with registration to 5 p.m. at Meeker High School, and the After Birth Ball’s social hour breaks out at 5:30 p.m. at the Freeman E. Fairfield Center, 200 E. Main St.
The highlight of the day will be the appearance of Temple Grandin, who will be the keynote speaker for the Ag and Business Summit, starting at 4 p.m..
During the day and starting at 10 a.m. at the high school, there will be a number of workshop sessions followed by a lunch from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. More workshops fill the afternoon, leading up to Grandin’s address.
The 10 to 10:45 a.m. workshop sessions will address site monitoring; Facebook Part 1; and the 2014 Farm Bill.
Workshop session II runs from 11 to 11:45 p.m. with ballot initiatives; business strategies; and Facebook Part 2.
Lunch will run from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Food will be available for purchase from the Meeker FFA chapter or attendees can bring their own lunch or get lunch on their own.
From 12:30 to 1:30 p.m will be the Rio Blanco County “State of the County” address.
Workshop session III runs 1:45 to 2:30 p.m. and will address public land issues (a panel discussion); community counts; and how to fool Mother Nature in gardening.
Workshop session IV runs 2:45 to 3:30 p.m. The sessions will address how to use a computer; livestock ultrasound; estate planning; and insider tips for business funding.
Dr. Grandin is a designer of livestock-handling facilities and a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. Facilities she has designed are located in the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and other countries.
In North America, according to her website, almost half of the cattle are handled in a center track restrainer system she designed for meat plants. Curved chute and race systems she has designed for cattle are used worldwide and her writings on the flight zone and other principles of grazing animal behavior have helped many people reduce stress on their animals during handling.
She has also developed an objective scoring system for assessing handling of cattle and pigs at meat plants. This scoring system is being used by many large corporations to improve animal welfare. Other areas of her research include cattle temperament, environmental enrichment for pigs, reducing dark cutters and bruises, bull fertility, training procedures and effective stunning methods for cattle and pigs at meat plants.
She obtained her bachelor of arts degree at Franklin Pierce College and her master of science degree in animal science at Arizona State University. Dr. Grandin received her Ph.D. in animal science from the University of Illinois in 1989.
Today, she teaches courses on livestock behavior and facility design at Colorado State University in Fort Collins and consults with the livestock industry on facility design, livestock handling and animal welfare.
She has appeared on television shows such as “20/20,” “48 Hours,” “Larry King Live,” “PrimeTime Live,” “60 Minutes,” “The Today Show” and many shows in other countries. She has been featured in People Magazine, the New York Times, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Time Magazine, the New York Times book review, and Discover magazine.
In 2010, Time Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people on earth.
Her life story has also been made into an HBO movie titled “Temple Grandin,” staring Claire Danes, which won seven Emmy awards and a Golden Globe. The movie shows her life as a teenager and how she started her career.
Regarding autism, it is said, “If algebra had been a required course for college graduation in 1967, there would be no Temple Grandin. At least, no Temple Grandin as the world knows her today: professor, inventor, best-selling author and rock star in the seemingly divergent fields of animal science and autism education.
“I can’t do algebra; it makes no sense,” she said. “Why does algebra have to be the gateway to all the other mathematics?”
Grandin didn’t talk until she was three and a half years old, communicating her frustration instead by screaming, peeping and humming. In 1950, she was diagnosed with autism and her parents were told she should be institutionalized.
She tells her story of “groping her way from the far side of darkness” in her book “Emergence: Labeled Autistic,” a book that stunned the world because, until its publication, most professionals and parents assumed that an autism diagnosis was virtually a death sentence to achievement or productivity in life.
Grandin has become a prominent author and speaker on the subject of autism because “I have read enough to know that there are still many parents, and yes, professionals too, who believe that ‘once autistic, always autistic.’ This dictum has meant sad and sorry lives for many children diagnosed, as I was in early life, as autistic. To these people, it is incomprehensible that the characteristics of autism can be modified and controlled. However, I feel strongly that I am living proof that they can.”
She has now designed the facilities in which half the cattle are handled in the United States, consulting for firms such as Burger King, McDonald’s, Swift Meats and others.
Temple Grandin is now the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world.
This is the second year for the Ag and Business Summit. The idea was conceived and well received last year as a way to bring business people, farmers and ranchers into town for more of the day leading up to the After Birth Ball, a long-held tradition in the spring.
The 9 p.m. After Birth Ball is free to all wanting to attend. Music will be provided by the band “Already Gone.”
Tickets are still available for the combined social hour, which begins at 5:30 p.m. and dinner, which will be served at 6:30 p.m. The tickets, which are $35 per person, $15 for kids aged 10 and under or a $350 for a table reserved for 10.
A silent auction will be held throughout the event and there will also be live auction items as well as an FFA Hired Hands Auction with all proceeds going to sport the FFA and agricultural education.