Dot Ranch, Home to America's Oldest Heritage Breeds

Grants, Awards, and Recognition.

Snow Sheep

No conversation about Dot Ranch could be started without first talking about who we owe for having faith in us before we even realized our own potential. Like many small farms and start up businesses, we needed more than our own hard work to get the ball rolling. The first grant ever received by Dot Ranch came in from The Farmer Veteran Coalition, a non profit organization that was, at the time, still small but already beginning to have a huge impact. Farmer Veteran Coalition Logo Bob Woodruff Foundation In 2012, the FVC awarded Dot Ranch a Bob Woodruff Foundation Farming Fellowship grant for the purchase of livestock handling equipment, a commercial freezer, and a professional quality cabinet egg incubator. This allowed us the freedom to handle our animals' veterinary needs without having to hire outside help for every little thing, and started our poultry breeding projects. Within a year, our sheep flock had doubled, and we had produced over 200 chicks for sale. By 2017, our flock had expanded 10 times over, and our poultry production is now at nearly 1,000 chicks per year. For a small ranch, this was a big impact on our long term success and viability. The FVC grew with us, pioneering historical legislature in the United States for Farmer-Veterans, helping guide the USDA to craft new opportunities and deeply needed support for those of us who have traded our rifles for ropes, or gone from swords to plows.

Work Vessels for Veterans logo

Like many veterans, Mickey tends to be a little stubborn about applying for grants, because it often feels like asking for help. Soldiers are trained to offer assistance, not ask for it, and bucking against that warrior ethos doesn't come naturally to somebody with pride and stupidity standing in their own way. There comes a time though when reality rears itself up and sets a woman straight. That time came for Dot Ranch once again, in 2015, when a livestock related injury reduced Mickey to once again being bedbound and extremely mobility challenged. Already a disabled veteran, an enraged ram took out Mickey's good leg, and left her with compartment syndrome, which made managing the ranch alone nearly impossible. Newman's Own Foundation logo Through a lot of help from friends, family, and most especially her son, Mickey managed to keep everybody fed, but finally through the urging of friends and colleagues, Mickey caved and applied for another grant to purchase an ATV. At the advice of fellow Farmer Veterans, Mickey applied to Work Vessels for Veterans, a non profit aimed at assisting veterans with tools and resources specifically for professional development. Much to her surprise (but apparently nobody else's), Mickey received a grant through the WVFV, in partnership with the Newman's Own Foundation. This was especially thrilling to her son, who loves the Newman's Own salsa and pasta sauces. A local Springfield business, Vicco Marine, stepped in with a great deal on a used ATV and a load of extras, and thus the deal was settled.

Events and Workshops

Mickey in ItalyIn 2014, during the Year of the Family Farmer, Mickey was selected to represent the United States at the international Slow Food conference, and the Salone del Gusto event, held in Turin, Italy. As part of the Women's Farmer Veteran Network, Mickey was a joint presenter along with 6 other female veterans who turned to agriculture after their time in service. During her time in Turin, Mickey befriended several other shepherds, from Italy to Bulgaria. Many of these friendships persist to this very day, proving that the love of sheep and land transcends all cultural differences.

Empowering Women Veterans Conference logo

Mickey deeply enjoyed the opportunity to serve as a keynote speaker at the 2017 Empowering Women Veterans Conference. Prior to this conference, Mickey also served as a speaker at the Farmer Veteran Stakeholder's Conference, the screenings of films American Meat and Terra Firma, several Slow Food events, and at the Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference. Mickey has also held several workshops for beginning farmers and ranchers. These have been held for the Friends of Family Farmers, Rogue Farm Corps, the Women in Sustainable Agriculture Conference, the Empowering Women Veterans Conference, and at the Mother Earth News Fair.

In 2019, Mickey was honored to be a suprise guest and keynote speaker at the Fifth National Farmer Veteran Stakeholder's Conference. It is always deeply satisfying to be able to engage with both fellow veterans and fellow ranchers and farmers, forging connections which continue to this day. It's hard to tell what's better about attending a FVC sponsored conference, getting to reconnect with old friends, or being gifted with the friendships of new people. 2019 brought both to the table, much to the joy of all who attended.

Dot Ranch has also worked in partnership with Evergreen State College to provide agricultural internships to students interested in sustainable ranching. Mickey continues to serve the Farmer Veteran Coalition as a mentor, and she will always make time for people who are genuinely trying to learn more about humane and sustainable livestock practices.

Dot Ranch in the News

The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science, March 2013

Transitioning Veteran Blog, July 2014

The Military Times, July 2014

History Made at First Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference, November 2014

Farm Aid at The Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference, November 2014

The Food Law Firm, November 2014

Slow Food Portland Terra Madre 2014 Delegates, November 2014

Terra Madre Dispatch: Dot Ranch, January 2015

Growing Change: Farmer Veteran Coalition, October 2015

Stayton Mail: The Valley of Light at Dot Ranch, May 2016

Women Farmer Veterans at 4th Empowering Veterans Conference, May 2017

The Power of Farmhers: Women farmers rise above discrimination in financing land and farms, October 2017

Sisters in Farms: Veterans and Farmers, a Female Farmer Project Podcast, December 2017

A Special Note for the Media

Mickey is notorious for her hesitancy to do interviews, and generally can be relied on to politely decline most speaking engagements or interviews. She will make a few exceptions for the organizations that have sponsored Dot Ranch with grants, or for public events that focus on agriculture. While she is a combat veteran of OEF/OIF, Mickey will not give any interviews focusing on her military combat experience, and will not give interviews to organizations interested in politicizing veterans for any reason.

While all of us at Dot Ranch appreciate the intent, we decline ALL television shows and film makers from filming at Dot Ranch. This is our place of work, but it is also our home, and we value our privacy. We thank you for respecting our boundaries and giving us and our animals the peace and solitude that we need.

Sheep at Night