Walt and Francie Meyer function as a team, whether in the operation of the ranch, doing research, raising their family or working in the community.
The Meyers’ Flying UW Ranch near Dudleyville, one of two ranches owned by the family, has been in Walt’s family since 1875 when his grandfather, a prospector and miner, bought mining claims from three soldiers stationed at Camp Grant. He moved the family to the property from Pierce around the turn of the twentieth century. At that time the family was engaged in mining and raised cattle. In the early days the home Walt and Francie currently occupy was the mine office.
At first Meyers ran Red Poll (Red Angus) cattle on the ranch but eventually switched to Herefords. “My grandfather bought the first Hereford bulls from the U of A,” Walt said.
Following his graduation from Florence High School Walt was encouraged to attend the University of Arizona’s College of Agriculture. He did, earning his BS in Range Science before moving on to New Mexico State to earn a Masters in Range Science and minor in Statistics. During this time he met and married Francie Wood, a ranch girl from Aravaipa. Walt obtained his PhD in Range Science with a minor in soils in 1983 from the U of A.
Throughout the years the Meyers have been very active in conservation of both the land and its wildlife. They have initiated an in-depth study of Desert Tortuous after finding burned shells in the campfires of illegal aliens gathering jojoba beans on their property. He has authored or co-authored several books on subjects as diverse as illegal dumping and field plants. Donning another hat, Walt became a professor and Resource Specialist at the U of A’s School of Renewable Natural Resources, a post from which he retired in 2009.
Walt and Francie have been involved with project around the state, including participating in the team that sought funding and participation from groups to work with erosion control and re-vegetation of the area burned by the Aspen Fire in the Santa Catalina Mountain.