A proposed organic beef farm in Marion County drew a standing room only crowd in Ocala last night. As Florida’s 89.1, WUFT-FM’s Kelsey Peck reports, concerned residents turned out for the public forum over a consumptive use permit for millions of gallons of water per day.
The St. Johns River Water Management District is still waiting to receive additional information from Adena Springs Ranch representatives regarding their consumptive use permit. Representatives want to create an organic beef producing cattle ranch with grass-fed cows on 30 plus acres of land in Marion County, just west of Fort McCoy. Their request calls for using 13 million gallons of water a day for their operations. The district sent the ranch a letter requesting more information so water managers can continue to review the permit and make a recommendation. That information is due later this month, however, St. Johns River Water Managent District spokesman Hank Largin says that doesn’t mean the application process will necessarily be over or that a decision can be made. He says it’s also part of the procedure to ask for public feedback.
The public showed its interest last night at a public forum held at the College of Central Florida in Ocala. More than a hundred people showed up, filling every seat in the auditorium, making some stand, even sit on the floor in the back. A panel made up of a variety of people made presentations on how the area could be negatively impacted if this permit were to be granted. Florida Springs Insititute Director Bob Knight studies springs and made a presentation about how he believes Silver Springs would suffer from this ranch’s operations and water use, especially while Florida is experiencing a drought.
Knight says he isn’t against the idea of Adena Springs Ranch, he would just want the ranch to use a sustainable amount of water.
Representatives from Adena Springs Ranch were invited and expected to speak at the forum, but they did not attend. For more information about the Ranch’s application people can go online to the St. John’s River Water Management site.