For Dr. Justin L. Cunfer, the road to a career as a veterinarian began as a youth working on his family farm in East Penn Township.

Dr. Cunfer has now returned to the area, joining the staff at Blue Mountain Animal Clinic, Routes 309 and 895 in the village of Snyders.

Cunfer is a 2002 graduate of Lehighton Area High School. He continued his education at Penn State University, graduating in May, 2006 with his Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science.

This past May, Cunfer earned his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Virginia/Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Blacksburg, Virginia. While at Virginia Tech, Cunfer had extensive experience in the care of dairy, beef, equine, sheep, small ruminants and camelids.

While growing up, Cunfer took an active role on Never Done Farm, his family's crop and livestock farm, helping to raise beef cattle and market hogs. Management of the farm includes harvesting 230 acres of small grain and hay production. Cunfer assisted in managing 30 head of registered Angus breeding stock and 50-plus Angus based feeders.

He was involved in 4-H, and his projects included market swine and market steers. Eventually, he started his own beef herd, which competed in local, state and national level shows. He has been involved in the Carbon County 4-H Livestock Club for 11 years and is currently a leader in the club.

His family farm's feedlot and beef cow-calf herd now totals over 60, all of which started with Cunfer's 4-H project animals.

From his personal experience working with his family's livestock health care, Cunfer decided to pursue his career, with an emphasis on large animal or meat animal care.

Cunfer knew that fellow 4-H members often would have a hard time locating a large animal veterinarian who was willing to travel to the Carbon County. For that reason, he wanted to return to his home community to practice his veterinary care, specializing in large animal medicine.

Cunfer's hobbies include hunting and collecting farm memorabila.

As part of the staff at Blue Mountain Animal Clinic, Cunfer will treat lage and small animals.

Blue Mountain Animal Clinic is located at 2077 West Penn Pike, New Ringgold. Call (570) 386-5902 for more information.