Managers are retired Grade A dairymen and owners of a registered dairy herd. Members of Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA), Tillers International and American Livestock Breeders Conservancy (ALBC)
Our no-kill Livestock Preserve began as a simple collection of the 6 major dairy breeds in the U.S., but we kept getting questions from friends as to why cows were in the pasture when they knew we didn't milk them anymore, nor sell them for beef. Being interested in the Oregon, California, Pony Express, Mormon Pioneer and other National Historic Trails in St. Joseph, we began learning about their history. Americans may have learned about the pilgrims and immigrant settlers coming to America in elementary or high school, but few, if any, have had the opportunity to learn about the animals that came with them. Yet it was these wonderful farm animals who provided the power to build America!
So we set out to amend that injustice by obtaining a not-for-profit status from the IRS to give unwanted, neglected and physically-challenged farm animals a home. During this process, people started giving us and/or directing us to other farm animals that needed someone to care for them - a beautiful, registered, but foundered, 5 year-old Missouri Fox Trotter, 4 stray pot-bellied pigs, a sweet team of two starving mules whose owner had died, an orphaned calf, etc. While collecting many different breeds and gathering eye-opening information (in spite of having/showing/milking registered Holsteins for over 50 years, along with growing up with dogs, horses, pigs, beef cattle, cats, chickens, etc.), we realized that most Americans don’t really know much about livestock, especially cattle, even though the majority of us depend upon them everyday of our lives! That fact alone makes them extremely important to humans!
Now, 7 years after acquiring the “charity” status from the IRS, our mission has morphed into not only being a farm animal sanctuary, but also being an educational, outdoor “Living Livestock Museum.” Through interpretive tour discussions, “Pioneer Wagon Camp” experiences and programs, art/music/film/folk art classes, farm produce growing/processing/“farm to table” classes, and more, we enrich people's lives about the monumental dependence of humans’ lives on livestock and all types of agriculture!
At Whistle Creek, people learn such things as the following: the animals’ nationalities and match them up with their own ancestors, St. Joseph’s extraordinary international role in American history, largely due to “The Great Westward Migration,” the importance of our National Historic Trails, the impact of the Westward Migration on area farmers, the animals’ willing and inspiring service to humanity in all kinds of situations throughout eons of time.
Animals and agriculture are blended here with on-site educational classes in history, fine arts, food and fun in an effort to “Connect and Reconnect Americans with Agriculture.” Intended results include encouraging and awakening the need for Americans to take an interest in, understand, learn about and appreciate agriculture. We also hope the farm experience here may spark ag-related career interests, improve consumers’ knowledge for their family’s healthier eating, inspire people to participate more often in outdoor activities for a healthier and happier lifestyle, or simply, to encourage people to respect and to be kind to animals. We highly regard and celebrate the loyalty of farm animals and the human/animal bond.
“Every person in America, in one way or another, comes in contact with agriculture every day of their lives …. whether or not they choose to think about it.”