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Summit 2022

Monday, November 14

 

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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:

John and Leslie Malone To Receive The Acorn Conservation Award

The Acorn Conservation Award is presented by Horse Farms Forever to a Marion County landowner who has made a significant contribution to the preservation of horse farms. The Award is a one-of-a-kind bronze sculpture crafted by renowned wildlife sculptor Bryce Pettit from Durango, Colorado. The phrase “From tiny acorns, mighty oaks grow,” aptly describes how we envision the conservation movement in Marion County. A few landowners are leading the way by putting their vision into action as they protect their land. Each time, they become an example to other landowners who see the possibilities, and the movement grows. In the end, a magnificent tree has grown, with branches that spread throughout the County, and the Farmland Preservation Area is sheltered in its shade.

Like Our Horses, We Are Stronger Together

This year’s Conservation Summit is focused on one of the most important issues facing Marion County – traffic and transportation. Horse Farms Forever is delivering on our mission to raise awareness about this key issue and how it effects horse farms and the equine industry.

The community, like a herd of horses, has come together to show their support, and the herd keeps growing! This year over 60 Sponsors have stepped up to support the Conservation Summit. Their generous support makes this event possible and helps build a broad base of support to help protect Marion County’s high quality of life.

We are honored to have Brook Ledge Horse Transportation as the Title Sponsor for the third year in a row! We also welcome several new Sponsors, including Long Creek Wines, Laura Connolly, Duke Energy, and William Kearns.

Special Delivery: Brook Ledge Horse Transportation’s Commitment to Conservation

Horse Farms Forever is honored to have Brook Ledge Horse Transportation as our Title Sponsor for the third year in a row. This year’s topic about transportation is especially important for their business.

An HFF member since 2018, Brook Ledge is a family business that cares about Marion County’s horses and horse farms.

In 1955, Bill and Bob Gotwals started in the trucking business with one truck. Since that time, the family owned and operated business has grown to include Brook Ledge Inc. and XpressWay. Brook Ledge Inc. is now one of the largest Horse Transportation companies in North America. In addition to operating out of its home office in Oley, PA, Brook Ledge Inc. maintains terminals on small farms in Lexington, KY and here in Ocala. There are three generations of Gotwals currently working at Brook Ledge.

Questions About Transportation and Traffic in Marion County? Let’s Hear Them…

We’re excited to bring you two deeply experienced transportation leaders with demonstrated care and concern for environmental impacts in Marion County and our state as a whole. They will both answer a few moderated questions as part of our program on the 14th. But since our Program is just 1-1/2 hours long, we only have time for a few questions to each speaker, selected beforehand. We want to hear from you! Please use the comments section at the bottom of this blog to ask your question. We will compile the questions and look for common threads to present to our speakers. We will also forward all constructive questions to the speakers for their own edification.

DarkHorse joins Horse Farms Forever® as a Founder Member

Laura Connolly recently bought a new farm in Ocala and moved her private show jumping barn from Wellington to Ocala for the winter season. In the summer, she trains and competes out of one of the most beautiful barns in the Northeast, her DarkHorse Farm in Ridgefield, Connecticut. She joined Horse Farms Forever® (HFF) as a Founder Member as suggested by Matt Varney, a Realtor with Ocala Horse Properties.

Horse Farms Forever Welcomes Long Creek Farms as a New Founder

Long Creek Farms Owners Kent and Rona Mitchell have a long family history of supporting land conservation, and by joining Horse Farms Forever® (HFF) as Founding Members, they are continuing this tradition. As Founding Members, they are also Gold Sponsors of the 2022 Conservation Summit.

HFF Welcomes Kimberly Van Kampen As A New Founding Member

In 2019, Kimberly Van Kampen moved her Hampton Green Farms from Wellington to Ocala. The move to Marion County was inspired by the opening of WEC; so much so, that in 2021 Hampton Green Farms and Discover Dressage became Founding Partners of WEC.

Her generous support of dressage will help grow the sport in Marion County, and it will also help protect horse farms. In 2019, Van Kampen joined Horse Farms Forever® as a Charter Member. This year, she became a Founder Member of HFF and we appreciate her continued support!

Van Kampen’s move to Marion County is big news for the dressage world, as she is one of the founders of the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington and a member of Wellington Equestrian Partners. But after 20 years, she decided to move her investments to Ocala because of WEC.

HFF Welcomes Valerie Dailey, Owner of Showcase Properties, as a New Founding Member

Valerie Dailey, Owner and Broker of Showcase Properties was one of HFF’s first Charter Members and every year since 2018, the agency has renewed their membership. We are grateful for their continued support to help protect Marion County’s horse farms!

Showcase Properties is one of Marion County’s top 5 brokerages in total volume for 2021 with a combined total of over $200M in sales volume. Dailey, a Florida-licensed REALTOR® and owner of Showcase since 2013, specializes in the listing and selling of equine properties, as well as residential, commercial, and agricultural properties.

In 2018, Dailey was recognized as Realtor of the Year by the Ocala/Marion County Association of Realtors®. And in 2019, she was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by the Ocala Women’s Council.

Just What IS The Farmland Preservation Area?

Marion County is home to nearly 4,000 farms including over 1,200 horse farms. Most of these horse farms are in the Farmland Preservation Area.

Of Marion County’s 1 million acres of land, the Farmland Preservation Area (FPA) encompasses just under 200,000 acres in the northwest portion of the county. While called a Preservation Area, it is not a preserve. The land is not protected from development and subdivision entirely, but there are restrictions that favor farmland preservation and natural resource conservation.

The boundaries of the FPA, and the rules that govern it, are at the discretion of the Board of County Commissioners. While all five current Commissioners are strong supporters of the FPA, as development pressure increases, additional tools are available to help protect the rural character and preserve compatible uses in the FPA.

The tools that provide permanent protection for the FPA are in the hands of private landowners. Learn more here.

Liz Halliday-Sharp Becomes an HFF Founder

Horse Farms Forever® is thrilled to have Liz Halliday-Sharp-LS Eventing join our growing herd of Founding Members.

Liz Halliday-Sharp is a unique sportswoman. Originally from California, she calls both the Blue Fox Farm in Lexington, KY, and Horsepower Equestrian located in Fellowship, in the heart of Marion County’s Farmland Preservation Area, home for her equestrian pursuits.

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Like our horses, we are safer and stronger together.
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