Throughout her career, Nita has been guided by a passion for connecting people and land.
She grew up a fourth-generation rancher on Santa Rosa Island, where her father ran Vail & Vickers Ranch and taught her the arts of cattle ranching, land management, marine operations, and how to pilot a plane on a dirt strip in 45 mph crosswinds. He also gave Nita a love for ranching and demonstrated integrity and compassion in all his relationships-the core values that still inspire her work.
For 20 years, Nita served as a founding member and then CEO of California Rangeland Trust, leading the organization from a small non-profit to the largest land trust in the state. During her tenure, Nita worked with over 60 landowners in 350,000 acres of conservation-related ranch real estate transactions.
Prior to her time at CRT, Nita was the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture & Environmental Policy for the California Department of Food & Agriculture under Governor Pete Wilson. She has also worked with diverse agribusinesses including Cattle-Fax, Idetek, and Foster Farms.
Nita earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Agricultural Business Management from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and an MBA at the University of Santa Clara Institute of Agribusiness. She is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School Strategic Public Sector Negotiation Program, the California Agricultural Leadership Program, the American Leadership Forum, Stan Parson's Ranching for Profit School, and Alan Savory's Holistic Management course.
A licensed broker, Nita has a profound understanding of the economic and intangible impacts that come with large working land transactions. She is an expert in connecting ranch buyers and sellers while exploring added-value opportunities in recreation, hunting, conservation, mitigation, renewable energy, new emerging markets, and more. With her hands-on background in ranching, business, and policy, Nita brings a wealth of understanding to issues such as value, market conditions, water impacts, lifestyle goals, 1031 exchanges, and mutually beneficial complex deal structures.
Nita serves on numerous boards and advisory committees. In her free moments, she loves riding horses, rodeo, aviation, learning to rope, trap shooting, travel, food and wine, practicing her Spanish, mentoring young leaders, and giving back to her community in Central California.