Dina Chacon-Reitzel has worked with the New Mexico Beef Council since 1989 and served as the Executive Director of the council since 1991. She was raised on a ranch in northern New Mexico close to the Colorado border with family roots in the state going back over four hundred years. Dina earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics in Business and an MBA in Marketing and Management from New Mexico State University. She is currently the Executive Director of the New Mexico Beef Council having served on the council since 1991. In her capacity as Executive Director of the New Mexico Beef Council, she is responsible for the creation and implementation of beef research, promotion and consumer information programs. In addition, she is responsible for collection and compliance of the Beef Checkoff. Dina also serves on the Federation Advisory Committee; a committee that serves as the liaison between the Beef Councils and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association Executive Committee.
Dina was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Agriculture and Home Economics College at New Mexico State University in 1996. In addition, Dina was recognized by the Governor of New Mexico as a "Hero of the Cerro Grande Fire" and also by the Children's Hospital of New Mexico for her long-time work on behalf of New Mexico's sick children.
Dr. Jack Thomas grew up in western Oklahoma. He received his BS degree from Oklahoma State University in 1974, MS degree from Kansas State University in 1976, and his PhD in Food Science from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1980. Dr. Thomas immediately went to work at New Mexico State University teaching meat science, carcass evaluation and coaching the meat judging team. Dr. Thomas also conducts the State 4-H and FFA meats judging contests each year.
Dr. John C. Wenzel is a New Mexico native, born and raised in Albuquerque's south valley. He attended New Mexico State University and graduated with a BS degree in Agriculture in 1982. He attended Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine and graduated in 1986 and then joined a mixed practice in the Albuquerque area. In 1987, Dr. Wenzel moved to the Silver City, NM area and joined a rural mixed animal practice as an associate veterinarian and purchased the practice in 1991.
Dr. Wenzel's professional career has concentrated on cow/ calf medicine and preventative health programs for livestock producers in southwest New Mexico. In 2006, he joined the faculty at NMSU in the Department of Extension Animal Sciences and Natural Resources as the state's first Extension Veterinarian. He is the state coordinator for the NM-ALIRT (Ag/ Livestock Emergency Response Team) and the NM Beef Quality Assurance programs. Dr. Wenzel is also on the NM Veterinary Medical Examining Board, the Veterinary Advisory Council of the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education, the Veterinary Advisory Committee for the Central NM Community College Veterinary Technician Program, the Advisory Committee for the NM Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, the Academy of Veterinary Consultants and the Western States Livestock Health Association. He has also developed the New Mexico Rural Veterinary Practice Relief Program, a collaborative effort between New Mexico and Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine to send qualified rural students to the Veterinary college with an agreement to return to NM and practice in a rural setting.
Dr. Manny Encinias is presently a state extension beef cattle specialist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service based out of the Clayton Livestock Research Center. Dr. Encinias has been with NMSU since 2002 since returning to NM from North Dakota, where he attended graduate school at North Dakota State University in Fargo.
As a range beef cattle nutritionist, Dr. Encinias has focused most of his research efforts in three major areas: 1) developing supplementation programs to minimize locoweed poisoning in pregnant beef females, 2) evaluating the use of fire, strategic supplement placement, and herding to improve grazing distribution on native rangelands, and 3) cost effective ionophore supplementation for weaned calves. Dr. Encinias' producer outreach efforts emphasize management practices to improve the quality, reputation, and marketability of NM calves. Since 2006, Dr. Encinias has been the Director of Operations for the New Mexico Beef Cattle Performance Association and manages two annual performance tests for registered yearling bulls: the 50 year old Tucumcari Bull Test in Tucumcari, NM and also the TOP OF THE VALLE high altitude, forage gain test at the Valles Caldera National Preserve in northcentral New Mexico.
Dr. Eric Scholljegerdes is the Range Animal Nutritionist in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences at New Mexico State University. His area of specialty is cow/calf nutrition with an emphasis on strategic supplementation programs that not only improve cow reproduction and growth but also improve the longevity and growth performance of their offspring. Dr. Scholljegerdes has been with New Mexico State for a little over one year and previous to this he worked as a Research Animal Scientist for the USDA in North Dakota.
Kyra Grant lives and works on a sixth generation family owned ranch near the rural community of Fort Sumner, New Mexico. As a member of both the NM Junior Hereford and Angus Associations, she has grown up working with and showing registered Hereford and Angus heifers and steers at stock shows ranging from her local county fair to the Expo NM State Fair and Arizona National Livestock Show.
Kyra Grant has been an active 4-H member for the past 10 years. She served as a 2007 NM 4-H Diplomat and was elected to the position of NM State 4-H Reporter in 2008-2009. She served on the club and county levels in various positions.
A 2010 graduate of Fort Sumner High School, Kyra is currently attending New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. She is double majoring in animal science and agricultural communications with a minor in journalism. Her future goal is to attend vet school at Kansas State University. She is involved in Collegiate FFA, Cowboys for Christ, Powderhorn Cowbelle's, and American National Cattlewomen.