Thanks to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the country has experienced a variety of shortages including coffee and even soda.  However, there is one shortage that existed prior to the onset of the pandemic. There is a critical need for practicing veterinarians in rural areas. This shortage is severely impacting large animals in the Upper Midwest.

South Dakota State University disclosed to our news partners at Dakota News Now that South Dakota and the Midwest are experiencing a veterinarian shortage in rural areas. South Dakota State University has hopes that its own program will turn this shortage around and tackle this strong need.

The first class of the South Dakota State University veterinarian program is set to graduate in 2025. Dr. Jessie Juarez says she hopes these students in particular practice and use their skills in the Upper Midwest area.

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Dr. Jessie Juarez explains to Dakota News Now that they are only so many veterinary programs in the country to motivate future doctors to take their talents to the Midwest.

“There [are] approximately 30 veterinary accredited colleges across North America, and with that about 3,000 students graduate each year from those colleges. There is a need especially in the Upper Midwest in rural areas for rural practitioners of veterinarian medicine.”

Students enrolled in the veterinary program at SDSU are typically from South Dakota and Minnesota. The students begin their programs at SDSU before they move on to complete their studies at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities.

Just as people need to stay on top of their health, we have to be able to provide that same care for our food-producing animals as well as our pets. There are only so many veterinarian practices that can accommodate the needs of the rural areas of South Dakota and the Midwest.

You can click here to learn more about the Veterinary Medicine Program at SDSU.

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Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

Read on to learn the average life expectancy in each state.