Horse Farms Forever was invited to present at Marion County’s Growth and Future Planning Strategic Committee meeting on December 10th. The Committee is seeking input from stakeholders about growth and development as the county develops a five-year strategic plan. It is led by Angel Roussel, Assistant County Administrator of Public Works, and includes staff from Growth Services, Community Services and Utilities. Marion County Commissioner Michelle Stone, who represents the Farmland Preservation Area, is also a member.
The Board of Directors of Horse Farms Forever is excited to announce the promotion of Sara Powell Fennessy to Executive Director of the organization, effective January 1, 2021. Horse Farms Forever, Inc., is a not-for-profit corporation registered with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as well as a 501(c)3 with the IRS.
Our mission is to inspire the conservation of horse farms by preserving the natural pasture land for horses and their habitats, and to protect the soil and water on which they depend, while minimizing land use conflicts in Ocala/Marion County, Florida.
Like one of Marion County’s beautiful live oaks, we are growing broader as an organization even as our roots stretch deep. A dedicated group of supporters continue keep us alive and healthy as our mission gains momentum in the community. Thank you to all who have recognized the importance of open spaces and beautiful places in Ocala/Marion County and the importance of preserving what makes us unique – horses and horse farms.
As we inspire Marion County to uphold and protect its global brand as the Horse Capital of the World®, it is gratifying to see the wide range of members who are joining us. Everyone has a stake in keeping Ocala/Marion County open and beautiful, including our development and real estate companies. We’re going to grow. The question is where, when and how. One new member who is an expert in sensible growth planning and natural resource protection is Tillman and Associates Engineering. Tillman sponsored and attended our Conservation Summit last week. We are grateful for their support and the expertise that president David Tillman brings to the table. As experts in civil engineering who also recognize the importance of preserving the character and culture that horses and horse farms bring to Ocala/Marion County, Tillman is an important ally and resource.
Horses and the love for the scenic beauty of Marion County brought a diverse group of large and small landowners, developers, realtors and elected officials – over 100 people – to Horse Farms Forever’s first Conservation Summit on November 19 at Golden Ocala.
The purpose of the Summit was to inspire preservation of the horse farms and agricultural lands that are fundamental to Marion County’s global brand as the Horse Capital of the World®.
Our speakers discussed practical ways to preserve farmland that benefit landowners and also made several suggestions on how to balance economic development and growth while retaining the sense of place that the iconic horse farms and agricultural lands bring to the area.
On Wednesday, November 18, 5:30 to 7:30 pm, a public hearing will take place. The public is invited. We will be there as FDOT shares the results of their study. The public is invited to comment on the “the location, conceptual design, and social, economic and environmental effects of the proposed improvements.” We intend to suggest some improvements that would make the interchange a fitting gateway for the Horse Capital of the World® and the Farmland Preservation Area. It is our intention always to work collaboratively and affect positive change where necessary to protect Marion County’s global brand. Instructions for participation in person and virtually are in the hearing notice below:
Congratulations to Horse Farms Forever members, Tim and Cheryl Holekamp, on winning global honors from the German Trakehner Verband as Breeder of the Year, 2019. This is the first time an American breeder has garnered this recognition.
November 5, 2020: The Marion County Board of Commissioners met yesterday to discuss the proposed amendment to the Golden Ocala – World Equestrian Center’s (GO-WEC) Development Agreement. The main issues discussed at the meeting were about water and wastewater treatment, roadway and intersection improvements, and fire safety.
The Amendment proposes changes to the original Development Agreement. It outlined several infrastructure improvements and other infrastructure needs. The meeting was the continuation of the first public hearing for the Development Agreement Amendment. The second public hearing will be held on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 2:00 PM. The public hearing for the proposed changes to the Golden Ocala Comprehensive Plan Amendment (20-D01) and PUD Rezoning Amendment (20200201Z) applications will also be held on December 16.
This is a challenging time to introduce a live event! Nevertheless, the equestrian and land conservation community has enthusiastically expressed an interest in coming together on the important topic of conserving our land in Marion County. Live attendance for the Conservation Summit at Golden Ocala on November 19 is nearly full. We can still take a few more, so if you’re interested, don’t hesitate. Virtual attendance is also open and will remain open until November 16. You are also welcome to switch from live to virtual, but please do so by November 12. More on that below.
Thanks to new member and Silver Sponsor, Dillon Video, the Horse Farms Forever Conservation Summit will be Live Streamed over YouTube on November 19th, 12:00 to 2:30pm. Seats for live attendance at Golden Ocala are nearly sold out, but virtual attendance opportunities are unlimited! The link will be private, so you must register for the conference first.