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Being a professional ‘eyes and ears’ isn’t always easy
 
Doing your homework doesn’t end when you get your diploma. Homework is sometimes required in daily living, too, as I found out recently at my maiden voyage to the American Dairy Science Assoc. (ADSA) meetings.

By coincidence, the ADSA meetings were in the Indiana Conven-tion Center the same week as the National Holstein Convention. Downtown Indy was filled with livestock enthusiasts walking the big-city streets as animal scientists, graduate students and Holstein breeders converged for their annual conventions.

For this freelance writer, this was a dream come true, to have two major events just steps apart. While I’ve been to several Holstein conventions, I’ve never attended the ADSA meetings.

I was excited to attend the Hunger Games seminar, where several well-known people were scheduled to speak. Temple Grandin was one of the headliners, and I was settled into the room and ready to take notes – electronically, of course. When covering an event, I usually try to record it on my phone so I don’t misquote anyone.
I hit record, pulled out my camera and enjoyed listening to the speakers. When Temple came on, I continued to record but I wanted to get pictures from a different angle. So, like any normal reporter, I got up and roamed the room to get some good shots of this demonstrative woman while she unashamedly spoke her opinion and offered her experiential expertise.

I took my pictures and was halfway back to my seat in the back of the room, ready to take one more picture, when the moderator interrupted Temple and stated emphatically: “Let me remind everyone of the rules that there are to be no photos taken in these meetings, nor are you allowed to use recording devices of any kind. Thank you for cooperating.”

Since I was the only one with a camera, standing up, with the viewfinder to my eye, I wondered why she didn’t just say, “Hey you! Yeah – the redhead with the camera, stop taking pictures and sit down!” But she was a professional, so she kept her comments for the general crowd.

As I slunk back to my chair in the back of the room, feeling like everyone in the scientific community was glaring at me, Temple Grandin spoke up and said, “Oh, that’s okay, I don’t have any research – you can take all the photos you want!”

I sat down and put my camera away with several thoughts running through my head:

I need to explain to the moderator that I’m not trying to steal anyone’s research.

I wonder if I can just slip up there and apologize to her quick before the next speaker.

Why do I always do these things that get me in trouble?
It’s obvious I only have a bachelor’s degree and no more … I feel so uneducated right now.

That’s why that lady sitting next to me said, “You really need to sit down and do your homework.”

Oh no … the next speaker is from Michigan State. I need to get out of here quick before she recognizes me.

I exited the room as soon as Temple was finished and walked quickly down the hallway. Suddenly, my thoughts changed to, Phew – glad to be out of there. At least I have another silly experience to write about!

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World.
7/17/2013