Bob and Nancy Montross

Bob and Nancy Montross stand before a wall-sized print of their cow-calf herd in the basement of their De Smet, S.D., home where they run the Beef Bucks program.

Veterinary medicine students at South Dakota State University are getting some financial help from beef producers.

Beef Bucks, a South Dakota-based program that sells gift certificates for buying beef, has committed $20,000 in scholarship funds for students entering the SDSU Professional (DVM) Program in Veterinary Medicine.

Over the course of four years, Beef Bucks will award a new student entering the Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine with a $5,000 scholarship through the 2024-2025 academic year.

SDSU's vet medicine program partners with the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Students complete their first two years of veterinary medical schooling at SDSU then transfer to the U of M.

The two universities have designed a program to help address the high cost of earning a veterinary degree, said SDSU college of agriculture dean John Killefer.

“The generous scholarships from Beef Bucks will further reduce the cost of this professional education for very deserving veterinary students in the program,” he said in a news release.

Awarding their first scholarship in 2000, Beef Bucks. has been supporting SDSU students and academic programs for 20 years.

“We had seen and read many articles about the new veterinary program and knew it would be a good thing for us to donate to," Beef Bucks Executive Secretary Nancy Montross said. "All of us at Beef Bucks know there is a large animal veterinarian shortage in South Dakota – we desperately need this program and hopefully we will see more large animal veterinarians as a result of it.”

The first 20-students in the partnership program are expected to begin classes on the SDSU campus in Brookings within the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences in August 2021.

“The students are the future of our industry,” said Montross. “We are hoping that our donation will encourage similar organizations to do the same and invest in the future.”