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Holly Swee (left) and Suzy Geppert (far right) joined TV personality Jessi Combs SDBIC
BEEF BIKERS: South Dakota Beef Industry Council staff Holly Swee (left) and Suzy Geppert (far right) joined TV personality Jessi Combs at Mount Rushmore to promote beef to riders.

Beef: It’s what's for fitness

10 South Dakota schools will test a program promoting beef in sports nutrition and training.

The South Dakota Beef Industry Council is teaming up with Sanford Health to promote beef as an important part of sports nutrition and training.

“We are working on the development of a comprehensive sports nutrition and training program that emphasizes beef as the premier protein,” says Suzy Geppert, SDBIC executive director and a beef producer.

The program will be piloted in 10 South Dakota schools. Geppert says it will be an opportunity for student athletes, coaches, communities and health professionals to gain more firsthand knowledge about why nutrient-rich beef should be utilized in sports nutrition programs.

The program continues SDBIC’s strategy of promoting beef consumption through athletes. Last year, approximately 140 beef advocates and fitness enthusiasts from across the state signed up to be part of Team BEEF South Dakota.

“Members proudly wear Team BEEF jerseys and promote beef wherever their active lifestyles lead them,” Geppert says of the participating runners and cyclists.


TEAM BEEF: A group of runners donning their Team BEEF South Dakota shirts gathered for a photo at the Sioux Falls Marathon in September. Wearing Team BEEF jerseys at athletic events has provided a unique opportunity for runners to promote beef and share their stories with other athletes and consumers.

2018 is the sixth year of the program.

“A lot of people look forward to being part of Team BEEF S.D. We hope to continue to grow it and our outreach to consumers,” she says.

Beef for senior fitness
This year, SDBIC is also helping fund a study led by Cydne Perry, an assistant professor in the Nutritional Sciences Department of Health and Nutritional Sciences at South Dakota State University. The project is titled, “The Effect of Habitual Beef Intake as a Part of the DASH Diet on Indices of Muscular Fitness in Adults 65 and Older: A Controlled-Feeding Systems-Biology Study.”

“The project’s two aims are to test the hypothesis that muscular fitness is preserved in older adults consuming beef above the current recommendations, and secondly, to test the hypothesis that habitual beef consumption minimizes muscle wasting in adults 65 years of age and older,” Geppert says.

Beef for adolescent growth
To boost beef awareness among youth, SDBIC has teamed with Family and Consumer Sciences and ProStart culinary programs in middle and high schools across the state for several years. The partnership provides beef educational materials and funding to purchase beef for classroom purposes. It is working with more than 40 schools and is reaching more than 6,000 students. 

Beef at Sturgis
SDBIC will again promote beef at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. About 500,000 people attend the rally.  “This is a great venue in which to reach thousands of consumers right here in our own backyard," Geppert says. "Beef was named the official meat of the 2017 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and will also be featured at the 2018 rally. We are excited to pursue several opportunities to place beef center stage in Sturgis again this year."

Funding for these and other beef promotion, research and education efforts come from the federally mandated $1 per head beef checkoff program collected on all cattle sold within South Dakota.

Learn more about SDBIC programs and event and find beef recipes at

Gordon writes from Whitewood, S.D.

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