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4147 County Road 114
Sugarcreek, OH 44681

It Stops Here!

Help Us Fight USDA Overreach

During our recent routine USDA re-licensure inspection, USDA inspectors applied new interpretations to previously existing animal welfare regulations that have dramatically impacted The Farm at Walnut Creek and our ability to provide the uniquely educational animal interactions we have become known for.

In recent years the USDA has increasingly become more aggressive in both new interpretations of old regulations and issuing citations without sufficient evidence of cause. In short, instead of relying on the actual regulations of the Animal Welfare Act the USDA inspectors utilize inspection guides as their means of interpretation and execution of law. The subjective inspection guide creates an avenue for government overreach and lack of consistency among inspectors when interpreting the Animal Welfare Act.

It stops here. With the assistance of numerous other drive through parks, a team of qualified USDA, legal, and political experience - The Farm at Walnut Creek is leading the charge to push back against this tyrannical overreach. We need your help. The Country needs your help.

Our Current Situation

On March 8, 2024, USDA regulations were changed that targeted the Farm at Walnut Creek and will directly impact your ability to interact with the animals in the drive-through portion of the park. The regulations could also have an impact on horse-drawn carriages.

Per regulations for USDA re-licensure, on March 16, 2024 the Farm at Walnut Creek underwent a standard review by USDA inspectors. During that inspection:

  • There were no issues with animal care and treatment. One bird that was “cited,” unbeknownst to the inspectors, was molting its feathers and required no additional care.
  • An additional 1,200-foot barrier will be required in a portion of the drive-through area. This barrier was quickly constructed at a cost of $12,000 only for the USDA to “change its opinion” days later to no longer require the barrier.
  • Additional fencing barriers around the walk-through portion of the park
  • Install additional fencing barriers around other animals, including sheep and goats.

View the USDA Inspection Interviews Here

On May 2, 2024 we dramatically changed our operations due to USDA Inspector overreach and new regulations by USDA Animal Care

  1. The walk-through portion of the park was closed until further notice due to the reinterpretation of old regulations by USDA Animal Care.
  2. Feeding the animals from your car is no longer permitted. While the drive-through park will remain open for your enjoyment, feeding the animals from your car is no longer permitted. This is due to safety concerns for the animals and the public expressed by the government.
  3. Visitors to the Park may no longer ride in the back of pickup trucks.
  4. At this time, wagon rides will still be available.

We successfully passed our USDA re-inspection on May 2, 2024 with the onerous USDA restrictions outlined above.

Our History

For more than 15 years, The Farm at Walnut Creek has welcomed visitors to interact with more than 500 unique animals from six continents including buffalo, llamas, giraffes, deer, elk, lemurs and many more. The Farm has become an integral part of our community. Thousands come from all over to take part in this “Amish country” tradition.

Our sister facility, The Lazy 5 Ranch, in Mooresville, NC, has been serving the public for more than 30 years.

In that time we have welcomed over 10,000,000 visitors to our facilities including hundreds of thousands of school children. Assuming that each visitor interacts with just 10 animals during a visit (an intentionally low estimate), we have safely facilitated over 100,000,000 individual animal encounters in our parks. Out of more than 100,000,000 individual interactions, there has only ever been 1 accident/incident. We are proud of our longstanding record of safety for both our visitors, our staff, and the animals.

Our Expertise

Given the long period of time we have been working with animals from around the world, we have developed an extensive expertise in the handling, management, and care of exotic animals. We have developed safe and efficient methods for handling the animals that allow us to properly care for each unique animal while minimizing stress and maximizing animal comfort. This includes developing and utilizing equipment and facilities best suited to the specific animals in our care. Our owner, Mr. Henry Hampton is a renowned expert in the transportation and care of exotic animals, so much so that the USDA has previously requested his assistance in capturing wild and exotic animals. In addition to our own accumulated knowledge, we also enlist the expertise of several licensed and highly-trained veterinarians to help us provide the best level of animal care possible. While there are a few privately owned animal parks with similar experience, our accumulated knowledge related to the handling and care of exotic animals is unparalleled.

USDA Licensure

Due to the nature of our farm and drive through park, we have been a licensed USDA facility. Through the years, we have always welcomed their input and suggestions to adhering to necessary animal welfare regulations.

The Impact of USDA Overreach

These photos show just a few of the areas where the USDA Inspector's Interpretation of the rules impacts our farm and your visit.

The Impact on  The Farm

The impact of the USDA’s overreach on The Farm at Walnut Creek is tremendous. The inconsistent interpretation of Animal Care Guidelines puts an enormous burden on our business and our valued employees.

Being forced to react to ever-changing interpretations of existing laws and rules creates an enormous increase in cost. We have already been forced to spend over $50,000 in the 2024 just to remain open.

The USDA inspection process combined with the restrictions imposed on our operations and the need to rapidly reconstruct areas of the Farm to pass the inspection has placed enormous stress on our owners and employees.

Perhaps the worst impact on our Farm is the extreme uncertainty created by the USDA’s overreach and constantly changing rules interpretations. It is nearly impossible to plan for the day-to-day operation of the Farm let alone future additions or improvements.

Employing members of the Amish community has been the experience of a lifetime and we value each employee like family. The stress and uncertainty is also unfair to our employees.

That is why the government overreach - stops here.

The Impact on  You - Our  Visitors

The impact of not having our Farm or the public not engaging with the animals is significant. For years we have hosted thousands of children with special needs, elderly in need of companionship, and those struggling with long-term illness. The stories that they have shared with us are heartwarming and sometimes heart wrenching.

The impact to you extends to your visit to The Farm through limited access to the animals…and currently no access to the walk through areas.

Media Inquiries

Contact Jeremy Dunlap, Interim Political and Communications Director for all media requests: 615.686.0776

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4147 County Road 114
Sugarcreek, OH 44681
PH: (330) 893-4200
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