Manny and Corina Encinias’ family is the steward of a legacy, working the land dating back to 1777, when the first generation began herding sheep in the nearby Galisteo community. Today they focus on caring for cattle and managing Buffalo Creek Ranch in the harsh New Mexico desert.
Their focus on bettering the environment, their community and investment in animal care earned the Encinias family the 2022 Certified Angus Beef Sustainability Award.
“The first part of sustainability is consideration for the natural resources,” he says. “In the desert Southwest, those are fragile, yet resilient. Our gold in this country is water. Water will always be of concern, for myself and future generations, because it is so precious.”
Beyond the rain gauge, Manny looks to wildlife in his pastures as a measure of ecosystem health.
“We know that when we start seeing multiple species of wildlife in our pastures, we’re managing appropriately,” he explains. “It’s just like managing rangelands. When you can manage grasses for multiple species, instead of just one predominant species, their presence is an indicator that our management is in sync with our environment.”
The consumer drives a lot of what we do,” Manny says. “We have embraces that as a responsibility.”
Transparency is a piece of that task.
Foodservice salespeople and chefs are welcomed to the ranch as part of Certified Angus Beef Ranch Days. The rancher explains his family’s efforts to conserve the environment and care for cattle. These moments serve as eye-opening experiences for people selling, serving and enjoying the beef that comes as a product of their toil.
Manny is a teacher, leading classes at the local college on range management and helping other local ranchers improve their herds. As a former Beef Quality Assurance (a certification program that ensures cattle are handled in a safe, humane and environmentally sustainable way) instructor, he believes continued sharing of information leads to better outcomes.
“I think we can all lend ourselves to becoming better—better handlers of animals and our environments by just evaluating our systems through the Beef Quality Assurance principles,” he says.
He maintains a constant focus on progress, helping others grow along the way. “Everyone who’s involved in this industry has a responsibility,” Manny says, doing his part to care for the land and animals while passing his knowledge on to their children, community and all who visit Buffalo Creek Ranch.