CSU, Chico

Nathaniel Vieira, Agriculture Business

Nathaniel Vieira, Agriculture Business

Junior ag business major Nathaniel Vieira isn’t waiting until he finishes college to launch his own business.  What started with two registered Charolais heifers as a high school freshman at Escalon High School has grown into a 34-head operation for this natural entrepreneur.  Vieira currently owns 29 registered Charolais and five commercial Angus, and he sells approximately nine project steers to FFA and 4-H members in California annually.

Selling project steers isn’t all about making a profit to Vieira.  It’s about giving a helping hand to kids who want a high-quality steer and who may not have the means to spend top dollar. Vieira is so committed to matching his steers with the right students that he put together an application process to verify that his buyers are willing to put in the work to raise a successful project steer.  Instead of expecting those who purchase a steer to pay up front, Vieira allows them to pay once they have sold their steer. He also provides facilities if needed.

“I’ve had an incredible experience raising and showing steers, and I want to help other kids be able to do the same,” Vieira said.  “They shouldn’t have to have a lot of money up front, or a place to keep their steer.  If they’re dedicated and willing to put in the time and effort, I want to help them to be as successful as they can be.” 

Vieira grew up on ranching in Oakdale where he learned many aspects of the agriculture industry, including welding, farming, business acumen, and livestock care. He credits his family, and especially his dad, who he refers to as his best friend, for his success.

Part of his success lies in his unrelenting drive to learn new skills and diversify his experiences.  This spring Vieira plans on attending the artificial insemination (AI) school at Shasta College to complete his AI certification. Vieira expects that with this certification, he can relieve veterinarians and technicians in the Oakdale area at neighboring dairies or beef operations. Vieira also plans on taking the Law School Admission Test this year. He views this as a way of opening doors for yet another career path.  

This spring, Vieira is completing a risk management internship for Nationwide Insurance. Vieira drives throughout Northern California to assess ag-related businesses. Vieira sees this as the perfect internship, not only because Nationwide works around his school schedule, but because he has the background to know how agricultural operations should run, and he can communicate well with the business owners.

Agriculture may be a passion and a way of life for Vieira, but he started out as a psychology major at CSU, Chico. It didn’t take him long to return to his agricultural roots, and the College of Agriculture is now his second home. He considers the staff and faculty in the College of Agriculture as reliable friends and mentors, and he says he loves Chico because, like Oakdale where he grew up, it isn’t a “concrete city.”

When there is an opportunity to get involved Vieira doesn’t pass it up. He is a member of both the CSU, Chico Young Cattlemen’s Association and Alpha Tau Alpha, served as the facilities coordinator and small engine contest chair for the CSU, Chico/Butte College FFA Field Day, and was an Ag Ambassador in his freshman and sophomore years. 

Vieira’s hobbies include boating, hunting, snowboarding, and skydiving. As if he is not busy enough with his internship, school, going home on weekends for calving season, and extracurricular activities, Vieira is completing his pilot’s license.

Vieira’s plans for his future are uncertain, but with his open mind, opportunistic outlook on life, and diversified skills, he hopes to pursue a career in ag business, while continuing to serve youth through his cattle operation and putting himself to the test by taking on new challenges.