PIERRE — The South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) and health care organizations from across the state have come together in partnership as part of a new “Thank You” campaign revolving around South Dakota’s frontline health care workers. South Dakota’s nearly 14,000 beef farmers and ranchers have teamed up with South Dakota’s health care systems in an effort to recognize and thank all of those involved in the commitment of care.

Beef plays a vital role in our South Dakota communities; from the family farm and ranch, to the schools, to the main street businesses. South Dakota Beef farmers and ranchers continue to be committed to their communities and understand the value of having a quality health care system. “We want to support all those involved from the ground up by saying ‘Thank You,’” says White Owl rancher and South Dakota Beef Industry Council Promotion committee chair, Les Shaw.

The match partnership will provide Beef Bucks and Beef Certificates to health care employees in communities across the state this holiday season as it impacts thousands of health care workers all the way from maintenance to care teams. Health care organizations are responsible for distribution of the Beef Bucks and Beef Certificates. Beef jerky is being supplied to participating hospital break rooms across the state by the South Dakota Beef Industry Council. Forty-five hospitals from the smallest independent hospitals to South Dakota’s largest systems including Avera, Sanford, and Monument are participating.

Eric Hilmoe, Vice President Operations, Sanford Health discusses his partnership appreciation, “I want to thank S.D. Beef for their generous contribution of Beef Bucks and beef jerky for our frontline health care workers. Because of the increased volume of patients, it’s been hard at times for our employees to take a break while they’re on shift. Having something like beef jerky available that they can quickly grab on the go is great for them. Our people are amazing, and they make us who we are. When organizations like South Dakota Beef recognizes them for their efforts, they feel uplifted.”

Shaw expands on the community value of the partnership, “We want our health care workers to know that we appreciate their diligent efforts and commitment to care in keeping South Dakota healthy during Covid-19 and every day. At the end of the day this is all about community and taking care of one another through difficult times.”

Cory Ferguson, Community Relations Specialist, Monument Health, expands on the community message. “This year, we have come together like never before. Regardless of the challenges, we’ve relied on one another — our families, our local businesses and our healthcare workers. We have been, and remain, in this together. Our healthcare workers have gone above and beyond the call of duty, and we want to give a little something back. That’s why we’ve partnered with the SD Beef Council to provide these Beef Bucks certificates to our Monument Health caregivers. South Dakota is cattle country, and here we stick together.”

The “Thank You” campaign, Beef Buck and Certificate distribution will continue through the first of the New Year as flexibility is key. Each health organization involved will distribute and manage their local community outreach and Avera Health, Community Giving Officer, Kellie Yackley believes in the partnership’s community aspect. “Farmers and ranchers are the back bone of our communities and we are proud to partner with the SDBIC in supporting our front-line health care workers, while supporting our number one industry in South Dakota; agriculture. Avera is committed to serving people across our region, including rural areas. We sincerely appreciate S.D. Beef for their support of our caregivers during this unprecedented time. The pandemic has been difficult, but we South Dakotans know how to lift each other up and support our neighbors and friends.”

Shaw believes the promotion will benefit communities throughout the region in multiple ways. “Beef is proud to give back in support of our health care systems and South Dakota’s communities. The impact of the promotion is expected to reach thousands of people from the families that raise our product, to local grocery stores on main street, all the way to the family table. This is a time for all of us to take part in raising each other up as we say “Thank You” to our South Dakota health care workers, their families, and in turn support our rural economies.”

The South Dakota Beef Industry Council works on behalf of South Dakota beef producers through the $1 Beef Checkoff program.

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