N.D. – The longtime state veterinarian and director of the Animal Health Division of the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, Dr. Susan Keller, is retiring effective June 30, 2021.

“Dr. Keller’s absence will definitely be felt both in the department and throughout the agriculture and animal health sectors in North Dakota,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “She has been key in monitoring, managing and controlling contagious animal health diseases in the state. Her commitment to and comprehensive knowledge of the industry are valuable assets that will be difficult to replace.”

Goehring said a search is now underway for Dr. Keller’s successor.

“While serving two agriculture commissioners and many State Board of Animal Health members, I tried to remember to treat people as I’d want to be treated, because regulations must apply to everyone,” State Veterinarian Dr. Susan Keller said. “Warnings are given when mistakes happen, but regulations are needed to remind and motivate people to do what needs to be done, which ultimately helps protect all animals and producers’ livelihoods in North Dakota.”

A Kansas native, Dr. Keller earned her bachelor’s degree in animal science and industry, and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Kansas State University. After graduation, she practiced veterinary medicine at a large animal practice in Bowman, ND. After moving to Mandan, ND, she worked at a veterinary clinic for a short time before building her own practice on her family ranch. She operated the clinic, Countryside Animal Clinic, until Dec. 1997. She then began her tenure with the North Dakota Department of Agriculture and the State Board of Animal Health as the deputy state veterinarian. She was appointed state veterinarian in 2004.

“Dr. Keller has been the epitome of state veterinarians,” Dr. Gerald Kitto, new president of the State Board of Animal Health said. “I’ve been a veterinarian in two states and have worked with several state veterinarians. She stands out among them.”

“Dr. Keller is pleasant, responsive and has always been careful to get full board support for decisions,” Melvin Leland, former president of the State Board of Animal Health said. “I very much appreciated her approach. She is a hard worker, dedicated to her position and has committed many hours to animal health.”

Dr. Keller and her husband, Dwight, live south of Mandan on the Keller Broken Heart Ranch. They have three grown children and Susan looks forward to working with and spending more time with her family.