Build Your Base: South Dakota Beef Industry Council Develops Sports Nutrition Program |

Build Your Base: South Dakota Beef Industry Council Develops Sports Nutrition Program

Build Your Base with Beef is a sports nutrition and training program that utilizes beef as its premier protein. The program was developed in 2017 by the South Dakota Beef Industry Council.

“This was a collaborative partnership between the South Dakota Beef Industry Council and Sanford Health through the Sanford Sports Science Institute. We sat down with them and brainstormed ideas resulting in the toolkit program that you see today,” explains Suzy Geppert, Executive Director of the South Dakota Beef Council.

“Beef is the premier protein of the program; however, the comprehensive nutrition program utilizes a whole plate nutrition approach as we know we need a variety of all the food groups included for balanced nutrition.”

Geppert has a background in education, and she gathered a multitude of industry experts to give their input when she sat down to develop this program.

“During the initial development stages, we had multiple disciplines such as beef farmers and ranchers, sports scientists, coaches, parents, athletes all gathered around a table to discuss various needs and gather input. We know that there’s a ton of good sports nutrition information out there and a multitude of resources. What makes this a program is the fact that we’ve pulled those resources together, brought along credible research, and created a complete program and toolkit that brings the best to the table in an easy- to-use format,” says Geppert.

What started as a roundtable discussion with humble goals has quickly grown – and blown all expectations out of the water. The program was created for high school athletes in South Dakota, but quickly expanded to colleges and can be found in eight different states now. They are even working with Olympians like Deanna Price, Payton Otterdahl, and Chris Nilsen.

“It’s really got a neat story to it. What I love about this program is it’s an impact program,” explains Geppert. “It deep dives and and you have true impact you can measure. In South Dakota we know that we had almost 70,000 beef meals served to those athletes in the ’21-‘22 school year. During the programs first year, we started with just ten high schools to pilot it with, then the program had lots of requests for pre and postgame meals for those schools. From there we piloted it in a university.”

Schools can apply for the program on the Build Your Base website, and once accepted, will have access to all of the information and nutrition guidance provided by the program. Schools will receive a media toolkit that provides infographics for media use, as well as a large banner and posters that promote beef as an ideal protein for active lifestyles. Athletes have access to meal plans designed by dietitians and sports nutritionists. The program also works to provide beef jerky for snacks, and pre or post game meals to teams.

“One of the things that we always have to remember when we’re working with the community or a team is they’re all different, and so when we put all of this together it was very important for us to add that flexibility,” says Geppert.“When we first wrote it, we thought high schools would be most interested in the pregame meal’s aspect, but when we gathered input from our working group that’s not what we heard. Some parents and coaches said they have a 4 -5-hour bus ride after games at 9:30 at night and the only options for food was at gas stations. They would rather be able to provide a postgame meal so the students get a high-quality meal after the game. Later after offering postgame meals, coaches were reporting back that these postgame meals were a great option because those teams actually talked after the game and it just it created a really nice energy between those teams and it’s been very positive.”

Build Your Base is endorsed by the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation because they appreciate the education based nutritionally balanced approach. Looking to the future, the program is excited to continue its partnerships with high schools and colleges. Additionally, next year the program will be seen in indoor football stadiums across the country.

“We just formed a partnership with the I.F.L., which will be launched across the United States with the Indoor Football League,” explains Geppert. “There are going to be marketing elements this first year, and we’re going to work alongside a pilot group of teams to incorporate the program into communities that they live in.”

You don’t have to be a member to access many of the resources available on the Build Your Base website. Under the ‘Performance Tips’ tab you will find at home workouts, as well as hydration guidelines for active lifestyles. The ‘Recipe’ tab has a cache of creative beef recipes for every meal, including breakfast.

For more information on the Build Your Base With Beef program, go to their website at

Tressa Lawrence is a corresponding writer for the Tri-State Livestock News. Send comments on this article to

Olympians Deanna Price, Chris Nilsen, and Payton Otterdahl stand with South Dakota’s Jr. Beef Ambassadors. Courtesy photo from Suzy Geppert.
IFL Cheerleaders with Jack Links snacks from the Build Your Base program. Suzy Geppert
Courtesy photo
Build Your Base education event at Black Hills State University. Courtesy photo from


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