Beef to fuel athletes through new partnership

PIERRE, S.D. – Athletes from 10 South Dakota high schools and communities will benefit from a recent partnership between Sanford Health, the Sanford Sports Science Institute and the South Dakota Beef Industry Council. The partnership is a pilot program that will begin during this fall’s football season.

The Build Your Base with Beef program is a comprehensive sports nutrition and training program that strives to prepare young athletes and their families for a successful sports season while at the same time developing nutritional and training habits that build overall success towards a healthy lifestyle.

“Beef continues to stand out as a natural, nutrient-rich, high-quality protein containing all the essential amino acids,” said Suzy Geppert, executive director of the South Dakota Beef Industry Council. “Partnerships like this allow us to not only build beef’s value, but also provide us an opportunity to extend our message and support schools and communities across the state.”

South Dakota ranks fifth in the nation in terms of beef production with approximately 3.8 million head of cattle that provide a $4.48 billion impact to the state’s economy. Geppert said utilizing beef as the premiere protein makes sense, as it’s considered a food staple in many South Dakota households.

“Research has shown the ingestion of 20 grams of protein following exercise helps maintain positive protein balance,” said Holly Swee, SDBIC director of nutrition and a registered dietitian. “We want to take this a step further by discussing protein needs throughout the experience including preseason preparation, training and recovery.”

Instilling a healthy attitude about exercise and sports in youth is important along with nutrition education. The Build Your Base with Beef program will provide this education and better equip young athletes with accurate information; creating an understanding of the role of macronutrients, vitamins and minerals, their function in maintaining overall health, their purpose in athletic performance and how they are best obtained from the diet.

“Athletes need to know the vital role nutrition plays when it comes to performance,” said Thayne Munce, associate director of the Sanford Sports Science Institute. “We are excited to work with the South Dakota Beef Industry Council to help athletes maximize their potential on the field and educate them about maintaining a healthy diet.”

South Dakota athletic directors were contacted in the fall of 2017 to determine participation interest. Interested schools were then contacted for further discussion and selection. The following schools will pilot the program in 2018: Harding County, Selby Area Schools, Winner, Alcester-Hudson, Warner, Sioux Falls Lincoln, Brandon Valley, Custer, Timber Lake and Centerville.

For more information on the South Dakota Beef Industry Council and the Sanford Health partnership, contact Suzy Geppert at