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Horse Farms Forever is a compact and powerful nonprofit,
founded in 2018 to:

Protect

Marion County’s Farmland Preservation Area was established in 2005. Its mineral-rich soil and water, and spring sheds are subject to increasing development and roadway threats. We participate and defend.

Promote

The culture, character and vibrant economy of greater Ocala is uniquely based on the presence of horses and horse farms. We share the facts.

Preserve

Landowners who love their land and wish to see it passed along to future generations have many options. We show the way.

Plan

The blueprint for Rural Land Management is written at the county level and made strong by collaboration and community influence. We facilitate progress.

INTERACTIVE MAP OF MARION COUNTY

INTERACTIVE MEMBERS MAP

See what we’re protecting and who is with us.
CLICK HERE

The Threats Are Real

From new roadways to rezoning. We are here to gather and multiply all of the voices that understand the value of our rural heritage and seek to preserve it forever.

News:

Road Widening Public Hearing Stresses the Need for Public Input

Over 200 people attended the workshops on July 14 and 15 about the SW/NW 80th/70th Avenue road-widening project. Marion County’s Deputy County Engineer, Donald Atwell and representatives from Guerra Development Corporation presented several options for the proposed improvements, which include expanding the current roadway to a four-lane road with bike lanes, pedestrian walks, and a grass median. Wednesday’s meeting focused on the road improvements that are south of SR 40. Thursday’s meeting focused on the road improvements north of SR 40.

Public Input Requested on the SW/NW 80th/70th Avenue Road Widening

The public is invited to provide input on the SW/NW 80th/70th Avenue road widening project at two meetings hosted by Guerra Development Corporation.

The meetings will be held on Wednesday, July 14 and Thursday, July 15 from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM at Westport High School Auditorium.

Engineers from Guerra Development Corporation will present information about the road widening project in two separate meetings. The first meeting on July 14 will focus on the road improvements located south of SR 40. The second meeting on July 15 will be focused on the section of the road north of SR 40.

The Marion County Quality of Life Survey

What will the Marion County of the future look like? How can we grow gracefully and retain the unique character and culture of this special place? We are asking those who live, work and play here to weigh in.

Together with the Ocala Metro CEP, College of Central Florida, Florida Thoroughbred Owner’s and Breeder’s Association, Ocala Horse Properties, and Hotel Development and Management Group, we are sponsoring a comprehensive Quality of Life Survey in Marion County. This Survey is being conducted by The Matrix Group – an independent insights and consulting firm. You may receive an invitation to participate in the Survey by mail. If you do, we urge you to follow the directions to complete the survey. Help us to shape the future of Marion County! Participants are selected in each of the County’s population centers in order to ensure accurate representation. We look forward to sharing the results this Fall. We thank each of our generous sponsors for partnering with us in this important endeavor.

From Gilbert’s Hardware to Dollar General: Rural Activity Centers in the FPA

You may be wondering why a Dollar General store is being built in the Farmland Preservation Area? Marion County’s comprehensive plan allows for limited commercial and residential development in designated Rural Activity Centers (RAC) (Policy 2.1.21) The new Dollar General store is located in the Flemington RAC.

Businesses Invest in Ocala’s Quality of Life

The environment where we work and live is important. Our local businesses, whether they serve the equine industry or not, know that the unique character of Ocala/Marion County expressed in its farmland and open space makes it an appealing place to be. Without it, we are just another Florida boom town. We welcome several new Corporate Members this month, and heartily thank those who have renewed their memberships, many jumping up a level or two. Yes, we have work to do, but we are getting it done together as a strong voice for farmland preservation.

Update on the SW/NW 80th/70th Avenue Road Widening

The road improvement project is 10.5 miles long and extends from just north of SR 200 to about one quarter to one half-mile north of US 27. Due to the existing businesses, houses, and Westport High School, the width and design of the road will be modified to accommodate the existing uses. Most of the road widening will occur on the west side of the existing road. At the widest point, the road and multiuse paths will be 120’. The multiuse paths vary from 10’ to 14’ wide and they also include a designated bike path. Other potential sections of the road will be 100’ with a 5’ sidewalk and 4’ bike lane next to the 12’ travel lane for cars. The designs presented were preliminary design of the road will be approved after further input is received.

A Growing Concern

Those who love our open spaces and beautiful places can no longer ignore the growth coming to Ocala/Marion County. We are so thankful for our members, new and renewing, who enable us to keep inspiring CONVERSATIONS about CONSERVATION of our precious farmland. Together, we can turn our concerns into smart planning for a future that both grows our economy and protects our horse farms.

UPDATE: Five Major Road Widening and Intersection Improvements

One of the largest road projects is a new interchange on the east side of I-75 at NW 49th St/NW 35th St. This new interchange will travel over I-75 to connect into the existing road at NW 49th St./NW 44th Ave. on the west side. A new intersection will also be built at NW 49th St./NW 44th Ave. From this new intersection, a new two-lane road will be built to connect to CR 225A north of the intersection at US 27.

Marion County Should Protect A Unique Resource: Its Horse Farms

Along with the growth of the horse industry, Marion County was one of only six counties in the nation that had positive job growth during the pandemic. Projects are underway to add 5 million square feet of industrial and warehouse space over the next few years. And where there are jobs, there must be housing to support the growing workforce. Over the next 20 years, Marion County’s population is projected to reach about 500,000 residents. That’s an increase of 150,000 residents.

Farmland Is Good For The Bottom Line

Cost of Community Services studies conducted over the last 30 years show working lands generate more public revenues than they receive back in public services. Their impact on community coffers is similar to that of other commercial and industrial land uses. On average, because residential land uses do not cover their costs, they must be subsidized by other community land uses. Converting agricultural land to residential land use should not be seen as a way to balance local budgets.

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Like our horses, we are safer and stronger together.