Photo by Russell Crowder.
Conversations About Conservation 2021 Summit Was A Tremendous Success.
Thanks to everyone who made the time, during Thanksgiving week, to attend the second annual Conservation Summit at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company on November 23rd.
Over 400 people attended the event in person and online and the event was supported by over 40 sponsors! Our diverse sponsors ranged from the equine industry to health care and to the construction and development industry. This tremendous level of support is a testament of how important this Conversation about Conservation is for the future of Marion County. The purpose of the Summit was to inspire a community wide Conversation about how to preserve the horse farms and agricultural lands that are fundamental to Marion County’s global brand as the Horse Capital of the World®.
We were so honored to have Dr. John C. Malone, CEO of Liberty Media, as our Keynote Speaker, who shared his passion about land conservation and sustainable forestry and cattle ranching practices. “I’ve always been a conservationist from a sustainability point of view,” he said.
Thank you to George Isaacs, General Manager of Bridlewood Farm, for the heartfelt introduction of Dr. Malone.
Thank you to Kevin T. Sheilley, President & CEO of the Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic Partnership (Ocala CEP) for your candid presentation about Marion County’s booming economy and how to balance growth with preserving open space and farms. You did a great job presenting the Quality of Life Survey results in an engaging manner. (P.S. We knew the answer to the question about protecting the Farmland Preservation Area before we asked the question.) https://ocalacep.com/the-cep/team/
Thank you also to Mark Casse, Canadian and National Hall of Fame Trainer, for presenting the Acorn Conservation Award to Charlotte Weber.
Thank you, most of all, to Charlotte Weber, for your careful stewardship of Live Oak Stud for over 50 years.
And Special Thanks to Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company for donating the sales arena for the Summit.
One of the comments on the feedback survey summarized the key points of the Summit: “Hearing from Kevin Sheilley about the economic impact of the horse industry and that the growth of the horse industry and protection of farmland can work together with other smart growth in the County. Thanks to Horse Farms Forever for bringing the right people together and remaining ever vigilant in protecting our local treasure – farmland. “
We hope you were inspired too and we thank you for all that you do!
We wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!
Staff & Board
Summit Articles and Videos
- Ocala Style January 2022 Issue
- Ocala Magazine January 2022 Issue: editorial on page 12, article pages 16-20
- Horse Farms Forever Conservation Summit: Balancing Marion County growth and preservation in the Ocala Star Banner
- Horse Farms Forever Summit Brings Together Groups Focused On Conservation – Debuts Quality-of-life Survey Results in the Ocala Gazette
- Horse Farms Forever Conservation Summit on Horse Capital TV
- Equus TV: https://equustelevision.com/watch/983 and https://equustelevision.com/watch/981
- Ocala Horse Properties Blog: Horse Farms Forever Summit Balances Conservation Growth in Ocala
- Ocala CEP: Weekly Buzz
- The Horse Talk Show
Guest Survey: "What Did You Enjoy Most?"
- “Especially touching was the spontaneous standing ovation for Charlotte Weber, it was very wonderful to be part of that experience and see her family there with her. The information was fascinating regarding statistics and growth in Marion county. I was amazed to see such a large and diversified crowd in attendance and heard nothing but very positive comments about the entire event either directly or in passing. Excellent job to all!”
- “My favorite part was the opening speaker (Sara Fennessy’s) ability to address the room. I liked Kevin Sheilley’s presentation and really liked the Acorn Award and thought it was so cool to see Mark Casse in person! He is a celebrity to my family. All of the staff did a great job conducting and participating in the event. A job well done HFF!”
- “Kevin Sheilley was engaging and such a character. I learned a lot. “
- “Hearing from the Kevin Sheilley about the economic impact of the horse industry and that the growth of the horse industry and protection of farmland can work together with other smart growth in the County. Thanks to Horse Farms Forever for bringing the right people together and remaining ever vigilant in protecting our local treasure- farmland. “
- “John Malone is always calm, optimistic and inspiring. George Isaac’s introduction of JM was epic. Kevin Sheilley’s presentation was very informative. He expresses an understanding of the need for urban development as well as preservation. The proof, as they say, will be in the results. Tough job as you can’t please all the people all of the time! Everyone involved made it a great experience.”
- “This was a well organized event. Thank you for all your hard work. It is certainly appreciated. Having lived in Marion County for about 25 years and watched its growth it is comforting to know that everyone is doing their best to preserve what we love best about it. Long live SLOWCALA.”
Guest Survey: "Ideas For Future Summits"
“Keep up the good work! Remind people you are a non-profit and how the operation is structured!”
“Testimonials from select farms & breed interests. Drill-down next year on next steps/call to action, updating of issues current & of import at the time.”
“What we need to do to assist with conserving our horse farms. “
“Transportation and how it relates to conservation. Proposed new Marion County Roads. 75 Interchange North of 27. World Equestrian Center”
“More about conservation easements, other alternatives to save the agricultural lands in Marion County”
“I would like to know more about any State level protection efforts, laws, programs that are intended to encourage conservation of lands. What can be done by Horse Farms Forever to strengthen those state level efforts, if any exist now? It is wonderful to rely on wealthy and sympathetic land owners but we ultimately need more than that to ensure significant conservation in and outside of Marion County. “
“I feel it’s helpful for the people who do not want urban sprawl to understand what plans need to be passed to be able to contain the growth. (i.e., infrastructure such as city water/sewer, etc.). That infrastructure is going to cost money and if it is easier for homes to be built without damaging the environment close together, the need to take over more land will be less.”
“Would like to know about volunteer opportunities.”
Thanks to Our Sponsors!
Starting With Our Presenting Sponsor,
Brook Ledge Horse Transportation!
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.