Lancaster Physician Spring 2021 - 21

SPRING 2021

Passion Outside of Practice
It's our pleasure to highlight a Lancaster City & County Medical Society member's " passion outside of practice " in
each issue of Lancaster Physician. Beyond their commitment to health care, LCCMS members have many other
talents, skills, and interests that might surprise you. In this issue, we're thrilled to feature Justin Fisher, MD, and his
passion outside of practice.
father-in-law. That is how we ended up with pygmy
goats, miniature pigs, and a pony named Darla. We
naturally needed some chickens, too, so we got a
flock and have been enjoying their eggs ever since.

Justin Fisher, MD,
WellSpan Neurology, Ephrata

How long have you been
participating in this activity?

We have been involved in raising farm animals since
we bought our farm in 2006. There are 20 farmable
acres on the property as well, but that is just a bridge
too far for me, so I rent that land out. The income
from that rent helps to pay my multiple bills for the
animals including feed, vet visits, and treats.

Why is this pursuit special
to you?

L to R: Dr. Fisher takes five before starting on his farm duties, the Fishers'
daughters give some TLC to one of their family farm's lambs, the Fishers'
menagerie of animals poses for a photo opp.

Passion Outside of Practice:
FARMING

Would you briefly describe
your passion outside of practice
for those who might be
unfamiliar with it?

Outside the practice of medicine, one of my
passions is our " hobby farm. " After finishing our
residencies and fellowships, my wife Laura and
I wanted to buy a property with land. We enjoy
open spaces, nice views, and quiet neighbors. We
spent about a year trying to find the right place,
but ultimately stumbled upon our dream property.
It consists of 30 acres, some of which is farmable
land, and the rest has a mix of woods and pasture.
There is an old log house dating to 1870 on the
property. We bought the property in 2006 and have
been pouring money into it ever since then. We
never really intended to start raising farm animals,
but over the years, we have slowly accumulated a
menagerie consisting of sheep, goats, miniature
pigs, chickens, a pony, and several itinerant farm
cats. I tell myself that we have these animals to
help keep the pasture grazed down so that I do not

have to mow it. However, deep down, I just really
enjoy taking care of the animals. They all have their
own personalities, and there is nothing as good for
stress relief as coming home from a long day in the
office, putting on some dirty jeans, and giving all
the animals their nightly dinner (and a few treats
of course).

How did you develop an interest
in your passion outside of
practice?
We did not buy our property with the intention
of raising animals. The neighbor farmer, who we
rented the farmland to, had a flock of sheep that
he would graze on our property over the summer.
Our first summer on the farm, one of the ewes went
into labor in the middle of the night. The neighbor
was not around, so Laura and I helped to deliver
two lambs, and we instantly fell in love. Following
that, we bought some sheep for ourselves and bred
some of them to have our own lambs. After that,
we started accumulating " gifts, " mostly from my

LANCASTER

21

PHYSICIAN

Raising farm animals is special to me because it is
something so different from everything else in my
life. It is very rewarding in its own way. We have
raised some of our animals from birth through the
end of their lives, and I hope that I have treated
them well. It can be very frustrating at times, and
I certainly do not have as much time to spend on
it as I would like. However, every moment I have
to engage in this pursuit is like a special kind of
therapy. I think we all need to get away from the
minutia of our everyday lives, especially work, and
get our hands a little dirty. I will admit, I have been
a lot more dirty (meaning covered in manure)
than I would have liked at times, but even manure
washes off.

What else would you like
readers to know about this
passion?

I never grew up thinking I would be a farmer one
day. We sort of stumbled our way into this hobby,
but now that we did, I can't imagine not doing it.
On the other hand, it is not necessarily a hobby for
everyone. It takes a lot of time and effort, and there
can be a lot of frustration and sadness. We have
lost animals for different reasons and seen them
suffer with illness and injury. This hobby also makes
it harder for us to leave home for a long period of
time. However, all of those things are a small price
to pay to be able to have the satisfaction of knowing
that I provided these animals with a happy and
healthy home. It has also been incredibly rewarding
to see my children grow up with our critters.
Hopefully, they will learn the same lessons about
caring, diligence, and responsibility that I have.



Lancaster Physician Spring 2021

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