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DarkHorse joins Horse Farms Forever® as a Founder Member

DarkHorse joins Horse Farms Forever® as a Founder Member

Laura competes Idara at the Grand Prix level. She is a 9 year-old mare formerly competed by Martin Fuchs. Here she is competing at the World Equestrian Center. 

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.

 

Grand Prix Show Jumper

Connolly is a successful Grand Prix show jumper and has competed for many years in Europe and in the United States at top venues located up and down the east coast and throughout the Midwest, including Wellington, WEC, HITS, Old Salem Farm, Tryon, KY Horse Park, Traverse City, and many more. She currently owns 10 horses, including the talented gelding Rahmannshof Upgrade, who is competed by European Champion and FEI world #1, Martin Fuchs of Switzerland.

“When I think of Ocala, I think of horse country. Horse Farms Forever’s mission to preserve that character speaks straight to my heart and passion. I couldn’t be prouder to support this incredible organization and their purpose,” said Connolly to HFF.

Pony Paradise

In addition to her show jumping career, she is an attorney, as well as a business owner. Connolly’s love of horses, and the process of designing and building her dream barn in Connecticut, led her to develop Stables-4-Sport, a partnership with Alan Megerdichian of Sequoia Contracting Company, the builder of her farm. Together, they create very unique and special homes for horses.

Connolly’s gorgeous all-white New England style horse barn is one of Sequoia’s top featured building projects. The farm is nestled in the idyllic Connecticut countryside and the barn looks and feels more like a bright and airy New England cottage than a barn for horses. Stables-4-Sport, the partnership between DarkHorse and Sequoia Contracting, is focused on building and renovating horse farms tailored to modern day sport horse operations. Megerdichian brings over 30 years of building and designing to the table and Connolly’s knowledge as an equestrian and show jumper in both the United Stated and in Europe, as well as her deep understanding of the industry, offers valuable insight.

“We are focusing on renovating and building farms with all of the modern-day amenities the sport horse industry is begging for,” stated Connolly in a Stable Style article. “The sport horse industry has changed so dramatically over the years, and we are focused on creating leading edge equine facilities that keep up with the ever-expanding demands and desires of both the horses and the humans active in the sport.”

The Stable Style article showcases some of the unique features such as individual lights in each stall, which is convenient for evening checks on one horse, without disturbing the rest of the horses in the barn.

The unique features in her horse barn are just one way Connolly strives to make her horses more comfortable. She is always looking for new ways to improve the sport horse industry, which has recently led her to founding SportHorse Tech, a new endeavor focused on developing leading edge high-tech equestrian equipment.

 

At Home in the Barn

Connolly’s new businesses are helping her to fulfill her dream as a young girl to spend all day in the barn, as she spent countless hours in the barn. First at the next-door neighbor’s horse farm, and then at the barn that her parents built at their farm in Michigan so that she would spend more time at home – well, at least she was at home in the barn!

“My mom or dad would have to come and drag me out of there every evening kicking and screaming. I think my parents quickly realized they wouldn’t see very much of me unless they moved the horses to our property! So, when I was about eight years old, they built a small six stall barn and a ring on our farm, which is where I grew up riding,” stated Connolly in an article on Fei.org.

Connolly is excited about the possibilities in Ocala with the opening of the new World Equestrian Center and to work with horse farm owners to help make their vision and dream for their horse barn come true.

Horse Farms Forever welcomes DarkHorse and Laura Connolly to their winter home – in the barn!

DarkHorse recently moved its winter quarters from Wellington to Ocala.

Laura Connolly with two of her Grand Prix horses. (L to R) Sil and VDL Nuit de Pomme (aka Buddy). 

DarkHorse in Ridgefield, CT – the farm that inspired Connolly’s new businesses, Stables4Sport and SportHorse Tech.

It is the vision and mission of Horse Farms Forever to inspire conservation of horse farms through education, awareness and idea exchange so as to preserve natural pasture land focusing on horses and their habitats, to protect soil and water on which they depend, and minimize land use conflicts
in Marion County, Florida.

We are watchful of government and others to preserve and protect horse farms and farmland for future generations - especially in the Farmland Preservation Area. We are neither anti-growth nor anti-development; we encourage urban growth to remain inside the Urban Growth Boundary.

Horse Farms Forever® is a Florida not-for-profit corporation registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as a charitable organization and approved as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation by the Internal Revenue Service. Horse Farms Forever® does not have a political mission. Our status as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization does not allow us to participate or intervene in political activities. The organization will neither advocate on behalf of political candidates nor advocate for the passage of legislation.

 

Horse Farms Forever Welcomes Long Creek Farms as a New Founder

Horse Farms Forever Welcomes Long Creek Farms as a New Founder

The Mitchells skiing in Aspen. Kent has gone for the last 60 years!

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.

“Joining Horse Farms Forever is one way for Kent and I to continue the traditions of conservation set forth by my parents in southeastern PA where they have always supported various land conservancies, as well as Kent’s father who was a large proponent of sustainable development in Texas,” stated Rona in an email to HFF.

Ocala and California

Long Creek Farms recently moved their show horses and equestrian operation in Florida from Wellington to Ocala. They made the move in 2021 to be closer to the World Equestrian Center (WEC) during the winter season. The farm is just 15 minutes from WEC on 70 acres of rolling hills in the Farmland Preservation Area.

In the summer, their farm in California’s Santa Ynez Valley provides relief for the horses from the hot, humid Florida summer. This region is known for its warm, dry summers, and world-class wineries.

The California farm was originally purchased for the show horses, but Kent was inspired by spending time in wine country, so in 2018, the Mitchell’s founded Long Creek Wines with the help of renowned winemaker Steve Clifton. All the grapes are locally harvested in the Santa Ynez Valley and produced with winemaker, Steve Clifton, in his Santa Ynez winery. 

With the addition of the wine company, Long Creek Farms has expanded their agricultural business, but remain dedicated to supporting the equestrian community through land preservation, facility improvement, and casual accessible schooling opportunities.

Conservation Commitment

“We believe that the Ocala area of Marion County is ripe for both residential and commercial overdevelopment, and once the farmland is lost, it is forever gone for future generations. The goals of HFF provide a balanced mix of protection and limited development, encouraging all landowners to secure the original “feel” of Ocala while allowing growth that promotes continued stewardship of the land,” stated Rona in an email to HFF.

Let’s raise a glass to welcome Long Creek Farms as Founding Members of Horse Farms Forever. Cheers!

 

 

Long Creek Wines was founded in 2018.

Although not a rider himself, Kent is very supportive of “the herd”.  Pictured here with Conquest

Spending New Year’s Eve in California with local riders. Left to right: Michelle Emmermann, Kira Plymire, Rona, Caitlin Davison.

When not on the farm, Kent and Rona enjoy sailing; they keep small racing boats in CA and FL and a 60’ cruising sailboat in Fiji  cool  

It is the vision and mission of Horse Farms Forever to inspire conservation of horse farms through education, awareness and idea exchange so as to preserve natural pasture land focusing on horses and their habitats, to protect soil and water on which they depend, and minimize land use conflicts
in Marion County, Florida.

We are watchful of government and others to preserve and protect horse farms and farmland for future generations - especially in the Farmland Preservation Area. We are neither anti-growth nor anti-development; we encourage urban growth to remain inside the Urban Growth Boundary.

Horse Farms Forever® is a Florida not-for-profit corporation registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as a charitable organization and approved as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation by the Internal Revenue Service. Horse Farms Forever® does not have a political mission. Our status as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization does not allow us to participate or intervene in political activities. The organization will neither advocate on behalf of political candidates nor advocate for the passage of legislation.

 

HFF Welcomes Kimberly Van Kampen As A New Founding Member

HFF Welcomes Kimberly Van Kampen As A New Founding Member

Kimberly Van Kampen  Photo source

Marion County is growing by leaps and bounds, but with the opening of the World Equestrian Center (WEC), the horse sport industry is also growing. Most notably, the discipline of dressage has grown with the arrival of several top-level dressage riders and farms.

 

From Wellington to Ocala

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.

“The new World Equestrian Center has to be seen to be believed,” said Van Kampen in a Euro Dressage article. “There is no other equestrian show facility like it, in both philosophy and facilities. Both Hampton Green Farms and Discover Dressage, in their own rights, focus their efforts on young horses and youth riders in order to create a solid foundation for future success. We are honored to partner with World Equestrian Center to see dressage grow in this amazing place!”

Dressage For Kids

Van Kampen is one of the most respected breeders of P.R.E. (Spanish) horses in the world and is the past president of the US P.R.E. Association. She is also one of the largest supporters of youth dressage, supporting Lendon Gray’s Dressage4Kids program and the Emerging Dressage Athlete Program through the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF). Van Kampen’s sponsored rider Sophia Schults, had two big wins at the 2022 FEI North American Youth Championships (NAYC). Schults and Conocido HGF, owned by Hampton Green Farms, won an Individual Bronze Medal (Freestyle) and were also part of the NAYC Team Gold Medal.

Van Kampen reflected on her move to Ocala on her Hampton Green Farms website:

“But now, my life is Ocala. Ocala—it even sounds like the beautiful place it is. Rolling pastures and grand oak trees that used to be the playground of the Seminole, and which are now home to thousands of acres of young Thoroughbreds. A genteel Southern aesthetic prevails here: rural and old vs. urban and new (per much of coastal Florida); here more native, more authentic, more raw, definitely outside the bubble. County after county of horse and cattle farms, historic cracker architecture and land grant neighborhoods. The stunning new World Equestrian Center and the ambitious generosity of its owners don’t change the landscape, only accentuate it.”

Horse Farms Forever® welcomes Van Kampen and her medal winning team to Ocala!

Kimberly Van Kampen, a daughter of the late American financier Robert Van Kampen, at the covered arena her family’s foundation funded at the Global Dressage Festival. With her is Thomas Baur, sports director for dressage at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Kimberly Van Kampen is a well-known name within the dressage community. As the owner of Olympic stallion Grandioso, as well as Hampton Green Farm, Van Kampen is a top supporter of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival.

Van Kampen (far right), and the young dressage students she supports: Sarah Roda, Sophia Shults and Kerrigan Gulch, with Vaquero HGF. Photo – Dressage Today.

It is the vision and mission of Horse Farms Forever to inspire conservation of horse farms through education, awareness and idea exchange so as to preserve natural pasture land focusing on horses and their habitats, to protect soil and water on which they depend, and minimize land use conflicts
in Marion County, Florida.

We are watchful of government and others to preserve and protect horse farms and farmland for future generations - especially in the Farmland Preservation Area. We are neither anti-growth nor anti-development; we encourage urban growth to remain inside the Urban Growth Boundary.

Horse Farms Forever® is a Florida not-for-profit corporation registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as a charitable organization and approved as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation by the Internal Revenue Service. Horse Farms Forever® does not have a political mission. Our status as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization does not allow us to participate or intervene in political activities. The organization will neither advocate on behalf of political candidates nor advocate for the passage of legislation.

 

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

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

Dailey is also the President of the Board of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association (FTBOA.) and the first woman to hold the post of FTBOA Board President since the organization was established in 1945.

Dailey is a Community Standout

Valerie Dailey, Owner and Broker of Showcase Properties was one of HFF’s first Charter Members and has renewed every year since 2018. This year, the agency renewed and increased their support to the Founder Level! 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.

The real estate agency has grown substantially under her leadership. When she joined the agency in 2005, there were only 5 agents; now there are over 40 agents. In 2021, their team helped to close over 440 different transactions both on and off the market and were ranked #1 in farm sales by total transactions.

“To say that 2021 was a fantastic year doesn’t do justice to the hard work and dedication that our team put in, but it was, in fact, a fantastic year!” stated Dailey on the Showcase Properties website.

Her expertise in real estate sales includes being part of the sales of the three highest selling properties in Marion County. One of these properties was Bridlewood Farm as Showcase Properties represented the seller of the farm to John and Leslie Malone in 2013 for $14 million; making it one of the highest-selling farms in Marion County.

The local horse industry breathed a sigh of relief to hear that not only would the operation remain a Thoroughbred farm, but that the Malones would continue to operate it under the Bridlewood name,” states the Showcase Properties website.

FTBOA President and Thoroughbred Breeder

Dailey is also the President of the Board of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association (FTBOA.) She is also the first woman to hold the post of FTBOA Board President since the organization was established in 1945. Valerie and her husband Hugh, along with their daughter Samantha, operate a successful Thoroughbred breeding farm called 3D Farm (for the three Daileys.) They have had multiple stakes winners, including a Breeder’s Cup qualifier. She has been a member of FTBOA for over 25 years.

Showcase Properties supported over 30 different charities, organizations, and events in 2021 to help enrich the lives of fellow Floridians. Horse Farms Forever® is grateful to be included as one of their selected organizations. Thank you!

Equestrian culture is so deeply woven into the collective DNA of the area. It’s a collegial, collaborative and inclusive community that is very invested in efficient land use and sustainability. Marion County is known for being a place of incredible natural beauty, with plenty of parks and recreational areas to hike and ride and explore. It’s a wonderful place to live and work.

Valerie Dailey

Owner and Broker, Showcase Properties of Central Florida

Corporate Membership

Looking for a way to promote your business throughout the equine community? Becoming a Horse Farms Forever Corporate Member gives you access to our members in Ocala/Marion County and beyond.  Donating to Horse Farms Forever, a registered 501(c)3 with the IRS, reaches our members, friends, and subscribers though our newsletters, social media, advertising, and events.  To learn more or to join please contact our Executive Director,
Emily Holmes

It is the vision and mission of Horse Farms Forever to inspire conservation of horse farms through education, awareness and idea exchange so as to preserve natural pasture land focusing on horses and their habitats, to protect soil and water on which they depend, and minimize land use conflicts
in Marion County, Florida.

We are watchful of government and others to preserve and protect horse farms and farmland for future generations - especially in the Farmland Preservation Area. We are neither anti-growth nor anti-development; we encourage urban growth to remain inside the Urban Growth Boundary.

Horse Farms Forever® is a Florida not-for-profit corporation registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as a charitable organization and approved as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation by the Internal Revenue Service. Horse Farms Forever® does not have a political mission. Our status as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization does not allow us to participate or intervene in political activities. The organization will neither advocate on behalf of political candidates nor advocate for the passage of legislation.

 

Just What IS The Farmland Preservation Area?

Just What IS The Farmland Preservation Area?

Photo by Elma Garcia Cannavino.

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 the FPA is called a preservation area, it’s not protected in the same way government owned lands like the Ocala National Forest are protected. The Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations are guidelines that define rural character and establish compatible uses in the FPA, but they do not prevent subdivision of land or stop development that is deemed compatible by the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).

The boundaries of the FPA, and the rules that govern it, are at the discretion of the BOCC. 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.

Preservation and growth have to coexist strategically or neither succeeds. The tools that provide permanent protection for the FPA are in the hands of private landowners.

Conservation County

Marion County is one of the largest geographic counties in Florida. In round numbers, it covers over 1 million acres.  About forty-percent of this acreage is protected from development.

For example, the Marion County portion of the Ocala National Forest covers about 320,000 acres and is owned by the US Forest Service. Established in 1908, it is the oldest national forest east of the Mississippi River and the southernmost national forest in the continental US. While it is a national forest, there are private and government in-holdings inside its boundaries.

Another example of protected land is Silver Springs State Park, which covers about 4,000 acres and contains one of the largest artesian springs ever discovered. It is owned by the State and managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees 175 state parks, trails and historic sites as part of the Florida State Parks system. In the City of Ocala, an example of protected land is the Fort King National Historic Landmark, which covers about 40 acres and is jointly owned by the City and County.

Of Marion County’s 1 million acres, the Farmland Preservation Area encompasses just under 200,000 acres in the northwest portion of the county. By comparison, the Urban Growth Area is about 125,000 acres, not including the City of OcalaThe remaining 400,000 acres is a patchwork of rural lands and municipalities such as The Villages, Dunnellon and Belleview, and towns, like McIntosh and Reddick.

The Farmland Preservation Area is designated by the red line, the Urban Growth Boundary by the blue line, Public Conservation lands are in green, and the orange areas are privately owned lands that have been conserved with Marion County’s Transfer of Development Rights program with a conservation easement.

The Farmland Preservation Area Is Born

In 2004, the County adopted several amendments to the Future Land Use Element to create the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program to protect farmland and other natural resources. Then, in 2005, the Farmland Preservation Area (FPA) was created by the County to serve as the sending area for the TDR program.

There are three main elements to help preserve farms in Marion County:

  1. a designated boundary on the County’s Future Land Use Map for the FPA,
  2. Objective 3.3 in the Comprehensive Plan that defines compatible rural uses in the FPA, and
  3. a voluntary Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program to incentivize landowners to protect their land with a conservation easement.

The first two elements, the boundaries of the FPA and the policies that govern it, are at the discretion of the BOCC. The third element, the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program, lies in the hands of private landowners. The TDR program is what makes the FPA a true Preservation Area, but it requires private landowners to participate in the program.

How does the Farmland Preservation Area (FPA) protect land?

While the FPA is called a preservation area, it’s not protected in the same way that government lands like the Ocala National Forest are protected. The Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations are guidelines that define rural character and establish compatible uses in the FPA, but they do not prevent subdivision of land or stop development that is deemed compatible by the Board of County Commissioners.

The FPA boundary is a line drawn on the County’s Future Land Use Map and is described in Objective 3.3 of the Comprehensive Plan as “intended to encourage preservation of agriculture as a viable use of lands and an asset of Marion County’s economy and to protect the rural character of the area.”

Policy 3.3.1 defines the Elements of Rural Character: “The County shall preserve and protect rural and equestrian/agricultural character within the Rural Lands, specifically the Farmland Preservation Area, by requiring that all appropriate future development activities within this Area preserve, support, and enhance the fundamental elements of rural character, set forth below, and further requiring that all Zoning Changes and Special Use Permits within the Farmland Preservation Area be consistent with and preserve, protect, support, and enhance the rural, equestrian, and farmland character of the Farmland Preservation Area.”

The Horse Farms Forever® Text Amendment, which became effective on April 30, 2022, enhanced the definition of Rural Character shown above in bold italics by further requiring that all Zoning Changes and Special Use Permits within the FPA be consistent with and preserve, protect and support and enhance the rural, equestrian, and farmland character of the FPA.

TDR Sending Areas

In 2005, the boundary of the Farmland Preservation Area was designated as the original “sending area” for the TDR program, but after the initial designation, this area was extended beyond the FPA boundaries. The sending area site must be 30 acres or more of contiguous land and either located within the designated FPA or have attributes listed in Policy 1.1.2 of the Conservation Element of the Marion County Comprehensive Plan, which include locally significant natural resources, such as certain types of soil, water and vegetation.

 

HFF will be holding our Third Annual Conservation Summit this fall on Tuesday, November 22, at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Arena. The theme will be Transportation. We will release further details as the event nears. Please mark your calendar and join us as we continue this very important conversation to help protect what we love most about Marion County – the open spaces and beautiful places.

Questions About Conservation?

Contact Busy Shires, our Director of Conservation Strategies, by email or by phone 386-853-4437.

Always Watching

We work hard to keep you informed, and to represent our members' interests in preserving our horse farms, farmland and the unique character and culture of Marion County's 193,000 acre Farmland Preservation Area.

Join the herd. Every voice matters.

TDR Receiving Areas

The “receiving area” is designated on the Future Land Use Map, Transfer of Rights, with the majority of the receiving areas located within the Urban Growth Boundary. The Transferrable Development Credits may be transferred to and used on lands identified on the Transfer of Rights Map.

Transferrable Development Credits (TDC) Have Potential Value

If landowners choose to participate in the TDR program, the BOCC must approve the agreement; then the landowner records a conservation easement on the property and receives the TDCs. To help incentivize participation, the County increased the TDCs to one credit per every acre of sending area land preserved in 2007.

Thus, if a private property in the sending area meets the requirements of the TDR program, in exchange for placing a conservation easement on their property, the landowner receives TDCs that can be sold or utilized.

When the TDR program was adopted, the County set a goal of placing conservation easements on 5,000 acres by 2015. As of today, the TDR program protects about 3,200 acres of land.

One of the properties protected by the County’s TDR program is owned by Dick and Sharon Sawallis. In 2007, they voluntarily protected 93 acres of their land, which is part of the scenic view shed of the Orange Lake Overlook on U.S. 441 just south of the Town of McIntosh.

 “It’s a gorgeous view when the sun comes up, or the sun goes down over that lake. That’s what I want to preserve and not look at a bunch of houses,” Sharon Sawallis said in the Ocala Star Banner article.

Photo by Sean Dowie

Conservation Easements Protect Land from Development

Due to the exponential growth in Marion County, development pressure to subdivide farms in the FPA and alter the FPA boundaries will continue. And because the land located in the FPA is privately owned, landowners have the right to subdivide their land, as permitted in the Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations, or approved by the Board of County Commissioners.

Marion County’s TDR program is a good start. The program has protected about 3,200 acres of land in the FPA with conservation easements. Conservation easements are an essential step to protect land from development. In order to truly protect horse farms and other agricultural land in the FPA, the solution is voluntary conservation easements. When a landowner places a conservation easement on their property, they decide the future of their property rather than the government or elected officials.

A conservation easement is a voluntary, legally binding agreement between a landowner and a qualified organization, such as a land trust or government entity, that permanently limits uses of the land to protect agricultural, ecological, or other natural and historic resources.

Landowners have rights to their land, such as the ability to subdivide, build homes and barns, cut trees, mine for minerals, and other rights. A conservation easement allows a landowner to retain private ownership while restricting some of those rights to protect the property’s conservation values and preserve the agricultural uses. The easement document will identify the rights that the landowner wishes to retain, limit or forgo. Easements are custom-designed to meet the personal and financial needs of the landowner. An easement may cover portions of a property or the entire parcel. The property remains a private holding and is only open to the public at the owner’s discretion.

Conservation easements can provide peace of mind by protecting land in perpetuity, regardless of who owns it in the future. HFF is happy to help facilitate this conversation and provide resources to interested landowners.

Inspiring Conservation

It is the vision and mission of Horse Farms Forever to inspire conservation of horse farms through education, awareness and idea exchange so as to preserve natural pasture land focusing on horses and their habitats, to protect soil and water on which they depend, and minimize land use conflicts in Marion County.

Horses, horse farms and the horse industry create the character and culture that define Marion County. The aim of Horse Farms Forever is to raise awareness and education to ensure that this sense of place is protected for future generations.

The purpose of Horse Farms Forever is to be watchful of government and others in actions pertaining to the character and culture that horses and the Farmland Preservation Area make unique to Marion County. That includes strategies to preserve horse farms and pastureland, especially in the Farmland Preservation Area, for future generations.

We hope you will join Horse Farms Forever and support our mission. 

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