By Suzy Geppert, SDBIC Executive Director

“The night before I compete, I like to have steak.  Meat is especially important for female athletes because it provides them with the nutrients they need to perform at their best.”  -Sasha Cohen, American Olympic Athlete

Our last South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC), “Beyond the Plate” article identified the importance of beef checkoff research like the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) study and its impact on healthy lifestyle choices.  Supportive research continues to build and expand on the national research through the recent completion of, “Let Them Eat Beef,” a recent study conducted by South Dakota State University’s Dr. Kendra Kattelmann. This type of research builds our case on beef’s value both nutritionally and economically. It allows us to engage in conversation utilizing data-driven research, proving beef’s role in a healthy lifestyle and develop programs and partnerships which continue to impact consumer decisions on incorporating beef into their diet. Whether they are an athlete or general consumer feeding their family, this research continues to support the knowledge that you can feel good about eating beef.


Research provides us the opportunity to develop programs like our highly successful and greatly anticipated Team BEEF South Dakota. Team BEEF SD is open to all South Dakotans who want to promote beef, be physically active, and showcase eating beef in a healthy lifestyle. It is a community of runners, and new this season—cyclists, who recognize the nutritional benefits of lean beef and the vital role high-quality protein plays in their training—including for their heart health.  Running and cycling are excellent cardiovascular exercises, and members understand the benefits of combining high-quality protein with regular exercise.

Team Beef SD continues to grow each year with more than 100 South Dakota runners representing beef last year. These athletes have represented beef to approximately 20,000 consumers statewide and 100,000 across the nation through their participation in high-profile races such as the Boston Marathon, Lincoln Marathon, Fargo Marathon, Ragbia I.A., and others. 

“Team BEEF S.D. has found success providing an opportunity for members to share similar values within the group and promote beef while working towards healthier lifestyles,” said Holly Swee Director of Nutrition and Consumer Information, SDBIC. “As a Registered Dietician, I have witnessed this program inspire many past and present members to become more active and health conscious all while supporting S.D. beef producers.” 

Beef in Athletic Training

Athletes of all levels need good nutrition to perform well.  A balanced plate including high-quality protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy work together to help the body work efficiently.  Athletes turn to lean beef as an invaluable complete protein source in their diet regimens.  Lean beef delivers 10 essential nutrients including protein, zinc, and iron that help fuel better performance and healthier living.  We continue to welcome opportunities to work with our other South Dakota athletes. Partnerships in athletic events such as the SDSU Beef Bowl, University of South Dakota Dakota Days, the Northern Hills Beef Bowl, and Kernel Bowl have allowed us to share the power of protein message with elementary, middle school, high school, and college athletes - in turn helping in building lifelong use of beef as a nutritious and vital protein source.

Partnering in Education

Engaging in educational partnerships with schools, youth outreach centers, as well as influencers across the state continues as a goal in our beef education efforts. Whether it’s an Ag Day event or the recent partnership with South Dakota Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) in the creation of a competitive beef contest focusing on beef consumerism, the checkoff continues to help spread our beef message.

Our beef checkoff research has laid the foundation for the SDBIC partnership with the South Dakota American Heart Association by sponsoring their Go Red for Women initiatives.  The Beef Checkoff provides research-based education information supporting lean beef in a heart-healthy diet to be shared with AHA members and health influencers through various events and educational settings. As a result, various health influencers, including cardiologists have beef checkoff resources within their facilities to share with patients and clients.

Do you have questions? We want to hear from you. These “Beyond the Plate” articles are designed to address your questions, share South Dakota checkoff stories, and highlight industry impacts. For more information on the SDBIC and the beef checkoff contact Suzy Geppert, Executive Director, SDBIC. For national program efforts visit