Blaine County Beacon: Doctor Pursues His Goals in One of the Best Places in the World


June 24, 2020

Lane Schmitt is a new doctor in town- a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM). And he enjoys the rewards of being around his clients and forming friendships with livestock growers who raise the "best beef in the world," in his estimation.

"I get to work in the best places-outdoors, under the big sky. On the job, I have seen some of the best places in the world!" Schmitt exclaimed.

After graduating from Chinook High School in 2011, Schmitt enrolled in the Animal Science program at Montana State University-Bozeman, earning his Bachelor of Science degree in 2014. He went on to receive his DVM in 2018 from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University. He has been working at the Chinook Veterinary Clinic (CVC) as an associate veterinarian alongside his father, Robert C. Schmitt, DVM, since June 1, 2018.

CVC offers service to North Central Montana, for "all of your large and small animal veterinary needs," according to their Facebook page.

In 2016, he married Taryn Norby, and the couple has two sons: Chancin, age two, and Tel, who was just born on March 2.

On the trail to his current position, where he specializes in beef cattle, Schmitt held multiple internships as part of his education. He spent the summer of 2014 in Kansas at Poky Feeders in Scott City and also served with vets in Evanston, Wyoming, and even Canada.

Because Poky Feeders is one of the largest commercial feedlots in the state of Kansas that provides custom finishing for cattle producers and investors, the leadership team hires a consulting veterinarian to visit the yard every other week to consult and further evaluate the health of the feed yard's cattle. Schmitt worked under several of these veterinarians.

"I don't do much work with feed, rations, and nutrition now, but my experience in Kansas and in Canada taught me a lot. I think the crews at the Feedlot Health Management and Veterinary Agri-Health Services in Alberta are leaders in research and thinking outside the box," Schmitt said. "They primarily work with large calf grower operations to determine ways to optimize production efficiency and overall animal health."

The young veterinarian also credited Dr. Samuel Nielsen, DVM at Bear River Veterinary Clinic in Evanston as an important mentor. "I learned many important lessons from Sam Nielsen. Because of him and my multiple other experiences, I feel prepared and haven't had too many surprises on the job. I've also been around animals and vet clinics most of my life."

Continud on Page A2: Lane Schmitt

With CVC, he focuses on the reproductive health of cattle-performing ultrasounds, fertility testing bulls, and spaying heifers.

It's a good gig, according to Schmitt, who finds conducting business in Blaine County rewarding. "I get to set my own schedule and pursue the goals I choose. Even though I work for someone else and I'm not the business owner, I'm still flying solo when I'm in the field."

When asked what aspect of the business poses the greatest challenge, Schmitt responded: "I think everyone in agriculture deals with employees, and finding help is tough, so we often work shorthanded. Employee management is a difficult area to work through, but we manage and currently have some good employees."

Schmitt believes his education with its built-in internships and in-the-field experiences prepared him well so that he hasn't seen much in the way of adjustments coming out of school. "I was able to apply my training in multiple experiences before coming back home," he said.

In offering advice to others, Schmitt said, "Follow the path you set out for yourself and pursue what you want to do."

On the day scheduled for a picture to accompany this article, Schmitt was performing a minor surgery on a calf with an umbilical hernia. He explained that this is a fairly common birth defect that occurs when the umbilical ring fails to close after birth, allowing abdominal contents to protrude through the opening.

"Umbilical hernias vary in severity from those that will spontaneously heal to those that will need surgical repair. This is the third one I've treated this season," Schmitt stated.

Such procedures are all in a day's work for Dr. Schmitt, who enjoys his role in a helping profession.


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