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.
Meet the Founders of Horse Farms Forever®
Horse Farms Forever® welcomes 12 new Founders! They join a group of 53 Founders who understand the connection between a robust preservation program for horse farms and a strong equine industry.
State of the County Report Focused on the Growing Economy and Tourism
Over the summer, Marion County is presenting the State of the County report. The first presentation was held on Friday, July 8 at the Circle Square Cultural Center. Horse Farms Forever attended to be on the lookout about any potential projects that may affect horse farms, primarily in the Farmland Preservation Area (FPA). Three additional presentations are planned throughout Marion County.
County Commission Chairman Carl Zalak, III, presented the report along with fellow County Commissioners and staff.
Highlights included the state of the economy, future improvements to transportation systems, a countywide broadband research study, and improvements to public services such as law enforcement, fire rescue, animal services, and Blue Run Park.
United Voices Support the Farmland Preservation Area
The decision about the future of the Ocala Jockey Club (OJC) was made on June 21 and while not everyone is happy about the Marion County Commission’s vote, every person and elected official who spoke either, in favor, or against the application had one thing in common: a strong desire to protect the Farmland Preservation Area from incompatible uses.
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.
When the farmland watchdogs sound the alarm, you'll hear first.