Agriculturalist of the Year


Dr. Susan Keller

     Dr. Susan Keller and her husband Dwight, along with their family live south of Mandan on Keller Broken Heart Ranch. Dr. Keller has put in many hours over the years on the ranch helping out with their registered Simmental and SimAngus cow-calf operation, along with helping her family hold a production sale every March. She has been a tremendous advocate for agriculture throughout her whole life and has instilled the passion for this industry into their three children, Luke (Katy), Jacob and Tessa. One of the many ways that she has inspired them to be passionate for agriculture is being involved in their 4-H and FFA careers and helping them out along the way, as a strong supporter of both of these organizations. Although Dr. Keller has been very involved in North Dakota agriculture, she was born and raised in northeastern Kansas on a ranch raising dairy and beef cattle, along with a variety of crops. She stayed in Kansas to attend veterinary school at Kansas State University and graduated in 1985.

     Not only is Dr. Keller a key part of Keller Broken Heart Ranch, she has been the State Veterinarian since 2004, serving the North Dakota State Board of Animal Health and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. Before being asked to fill the position of the state veterinarian, she served the Board and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) as the deputy state veterinarian from 1997 to 2004. For the past 20 years her focus has been on protecting the health of livestock and animals in North Dakota and she works with the Board and the Animal Health Division to take necessary actions to prevent, control and eradicate contagious and infectious diseases. Dr. Keller also served as the vice president of the National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials (NASAHO) for two years and then served as the president of the NASAHO for another two years, which allowed her to expand North Dakota influence beyond the state’s borders. Before working for the state, Dr. Keller was employed at Midway Veterinary Clinic, Bowman Veterinary Clinic and owned and operated her own clinic from their ranch south of Mandan. Her 10 years in private practice motivate and guide her work as the state veterinarian.

     Dr. Keller hopes she has had some positive impacts on animal agriculture, but readily acknowledges that the coming generations in agriculture will continue to face new challenges and she strongly encourages young producers to never stop learning and to stay engaged. She is one of the most kind, humble and hardworking people there is. She is very deserving of this honor and will make a great addition to the Hall of Fame in Shepperd Arena on the campus of North Dakota State University.