Mickey Willenbring (Clayton)
Dot Ranch, Scio, OR
Dot Ranch, Scio, OR
Mickey – half Lakota Indian and half Puerto Rican – joined the Army and served as an equipment repair specialist for 7 years, including a deployment to Iraq. Mickey was severely injured while serving in-country, resulting in a permanent leg injury and medical discharge from the service.
Established in 2010 by the US Army and Oregon National Guard Veteran, Mickey’s “Dot Ranch” was her answer to the question of what comes after war.
“As a disabled combat veteran, I felt a strong call to return to my rural roots, and seek healing in the land and the unjudging presence of animals. With an extensive background in ecological restoration efforts and agriculture, it was just natural to start a pasture based ranch that specialized in heritage breeds.”
Back to her roots, Mickey spent a portion of her childhood on a reservation in South Dakota in what she calls “big sheep country”. During her service in Iraq, she fell in love with Awassi sheep. After her service, Mickey decided to return to her roots to pursue raising sheep as a full-time enterprise.
Dot Ranch is based on a 40-acre property in Scio, Oregon, and Mickey is one of a few farmers raising Navajo Churro Sheep, an American heritage breed. She also raises Muscovy ducks, Dexter cattle, Black Copper Maran chickens and Mottled Java chickens.
Joined by her child, and now by her husband, Dot Ranch is 100% family owned and operated. All products are certified Homegrown By Heroes.
As a Bob Woodruff Farming Fellow through the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund, Mickey used her funding to purchase a specialized sheep squeeze handling system, as well as other farm equipment. Currently, Mickey is a student at Oregon State University in the Natural Resource Management program, the founder of a Doberman Pinscher rescue, the sole proprietor of Dot Ranch, and a proud mother. Mickey embodies the spirit of veterans returning home to not only farm but give back to their communities.