In the right field: Duffy finds his way, working at Monticello Veterinary Clinic

Veterinarian Mark Duffy performs cattle ear implants on the Mark Welter farm in Hopkinton. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Mark Duffy has worked at the Monticello Veterinary Clinic since June 2017.
Pete Temple
Express Sports/Ag Editor

     Mark Duffy didn’t set out to become a veterinarian. But before long, he learned that was the position in which he belonged.

     “I originally was going to be an agricultural engineer,” Duffy said. “I did it for two years, didn’t like it, and then switched.

     “I pictured that I’d be working on big pieces of machinery. As I got further into it, it was more, designing parts that go on the machinery. I didn’t want to work inside that much.

     “And then I had a barn design class that was all about hog barn ventilation. They did a mini-segment on the biology side of it, with the actual pigs themselves, and that was a lot more interesting to me.”

     So, he returned to school at Iowa State to major in animal science and then attend veterinary school. He has worked at the Monticello Veterinary Clinic since June 2017. He said he’s glad about the career choice he made.

     “The only reason I was an engineering major is because I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Duffy said. “And people said, well, you’re good at math and science; you should be an engineer. So that’s what I did.

     “I kind of found my way from there. I never thought about doing something with animals as a job, because I didn’t grow up with that farm background. But then you get into that ag environment when you’re at Iowa State.”

     Duffy, 31, is originally from Norwalk, Iowa, just south of Des Moines. He and his wife Courtney – they were married this past September – wanted to be in Eastern Iowa in part because Courtney is a native of Dubuque. Both now live in Monticello.

     “We wanted to be close to both families, so we figured anything on the eastern half of the state would put us within a relative driving distance,” Duffy said.

     He said he enjoys the work, although there are rough patches.

     “This time of year it’s dealing with the elements,” he said. “And during calving season, a lot of times if people are calling you it’s because they are in trouble.”

     Meeting farm families is a big part of what he enjoys about the job.

     “I really like being able to help people with their business venture, through the livestock they have,” he said. “But then I also like the lifestyle, and being able to be a part of that and share that with families. We go out and work calves in the spring and fall, and it’s usually a big family deal. They bring food out. So you kind of get involved in all the different family events and that aspect of it.”

     Duffy said he also likes Monticello, which has kept the small-town atmosphere he used to have in Norwalk.

     “When I was growing up, Norwalk was about the same size as Monticello, and now it’s about 10,000 (people),” he said. “Monticello reminds me of what it was like growing up.”

     Duffy’s hobbies include hunting and fishing, kayaking and boating.

     “A lot of outdoor stuff,” he said.

     He is also a hockey player; he played growing up, and eventually at Iowa State, and was invited back to Ames last week to play in a student-faculty-alumni game.

     Duffy also has seen plenty of ice – and snow – while making the rounds at his job. But it doesn’t bother him.

     “I get paid back for (the winter weather) in June when I’m back outside,” he said.



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