PROTECT OUR HORSE FARMS

Our mission is to inspire the conservation of horse farms through education and awareness so as to preserve natural pasture land focusing on horses and their habitats, and to protect the soil and water on which they depend, while minimizing land use conflicts in Marion County.

Marion County has some of the most productive horse farming in the country and this didn’t happen by chance. The equine industry was developed here more than 80 years ago because of the unique characteristics of the year-round moderate climate, as well as the mineral-rich soil and water specific to the region.  Think of how important the coral reefs are to the make-up of the Florida Keys.  The land in Marion County is just as irreplaceable and precious for horse farms in the North Central Florida region.

That is why a group of locals has formed Horse Farms Forever, an initiative focused on the conservation of horse farms by preserving the natural pasture land for horses and their habitats, protecting the soil and water on which they depend, and minimizing land use conflicts in Marion County.

In April 2018, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) released plans for the Coastal Connector turnpike with projected routes that would go right through the heart of Marion County horse country.  After massive public outcry over the potential destruction of the hundreds of horse farms that provide the cultural fabric of Marion County, the FDOT “postponed” this project.  Now that the immediate threat of the Coastal Connector has been postponed, the ongoing goal for Horse Farms Forever is to protect horse farms from further government overreach through education and awareness in Marion County.

Ocala’s equine industry contributes nearly 50 percent of the tourism dollars in Marion County, brings in nearly $3 billion annually and employs 20,000 workers.  Our equine industry is at stake should this project resume at a later date or future projects be approved.  We must preserve and protect Marion County’s green space that is revered as the Horse Capital of the World.™

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Know The Facts

 

“While this proposal may help alleviate congestion, the route would have a devastating impact on Florida’s $120 billion agriculture industry and Marion County’s local economy.  Ocala is the Horse Capital of the World™, and the equine industry is a vital part of our state’s economy.  It is imperative we find another path.” 

~Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam wrote in a letter to the Florida Department of Transportation and Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise.

  • How does horse power drive Florida’s economy?

  • What is the Coastal Connector and why is the turnpike so bad for Northwest Marion County?

  • What is Horse Farms Forever and does the group oppose the Coastal Connector?

For More Information

 

Membership & Giving

It will take a unified effort from all of our residents to come together to raise our voices to protect our horse farms and our way of life.  Join our effort and have your name listed among our neighbors here in Marion County who want to protect the Horse Capital of the World.™

Resources

Our resource center provides quick links to industry facts and project updates.