Meyer jumps in as vet
Rawlins – “Even though vet school seemed a bit like an insurmountable challenge at the beginning, it’s been a blessing that has allowed me to come back home, ranch and be with agricultural people and animals,” remarks Molly Murphree Meyer, veterinarian at Carbon County Veterinary Hospital.
Meyer grew up on the family ranch near Jeffrey City. She attended high school in Riverton and qualified for the National High School Final Rodeo her junior year.
“I went to college in Casper, and then I trained horses for a few years before going to vet school at Colorado State University,” she says.
Although she enjoyed training horses, Meyer wanted to establish a career that she could fall back on, in case of an injury or accident. She studied veterinary medicine, focusing on horses and beef cattle.
Animals and people
“From a young age, I was drawn to the profession. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, and growing up in the middle of nowhere, they were companions and also a way to make a living,” she comments.
After finishing school, she completed an equine internship in Montana and Oklahoma.
“Then, I had the opportunity to come back to Wyoming and work with Dr. Warner McFarland, and I am really happy to be back in the state,” she explains. “It’s a real blessing to be able to get paid to help agricultural people get their work done and make a living.”
Fall is the busiest season for Carbon County Veterinary Hospital and Meyer is busy with preg checks, health inspections and heifer vaccinations.
“We stay really busy. We serve all of Carbon County and into some of the surrounding counties as well,” she comments.
The clinic strives to provide affordable vet care, despite the long distances they often travel to visit clients.
“We try to keep our fees as reasonable as we can for our clients because they are trying to keep margins under control and make a living. We are the only veterinary clinic available 24/7 for about a 100-mile radius,” she adds.
In addition to her work at the clinic, Meyer also runs commercial Angus cattle on the family ranch with her husband and brother.
“This year has been really exciting because it is the first summer that we have been back to run our own cattle on the ranch,” she notes.
Meyer and her brother Tyler leased the ranch for a number of years so they could each earn an education and secure family ownership of the ranch into the future.
“I see this a lot with ranching families all over the country. It’s becoming harder and harder to make ranching the sole income. I think there are a lot of changes for people in agriculture,” she explains.
Meyer’s brother is a geologist who contracts out to oilfield companies.
Making ends meet
“He also saw the need to leave home and pursue something else to be able to come back home to the ranch,” she says. “It’s pretty tough because our family ranch is large enough to be a full-time job, but it is small enough that it is hard for a whole family to make a living on.”
She adds, “A lot of my generation wants to stay on the ranch, but we have to make it pencil out and make it make sense.”
Luckily, Meyer and her family have been able to maintain ownership of the land, and the ranch is now a corporation that includes all of the family members with shares in the operation.
“We never wanted to have the ranch mortgaged or at the risk of being lost,” she says. “It’s fun to see it all coming together full circle and it’s rewarding to see everybody working and involved. We have to do a lot of things other than ranching to make it happen.”
Natasha Wheeler is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.