Lay of the Land Conference

About the Conference

The Florida Lay of the Land Conference is an annual gathering of landowners, policymakers, investors, and industry professionals seeking the latest and most accurate information about the Florida land market. This conference provides a platform for gaining insights into economic trends, market dynamics, sales data, and regulatory updates.

The conference offers unique learning experiences through breakout sessions aimed to enhance your knowledge in specific areas of interest. Industry leaders and business experts will conduct sessions covering various aspects of land ownership, investment, and market dynamics. 

The Lay of the Land Conference is not only a valuable source of information but also a great opportunity for building professional relationships within the land industry.

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Event Details

Date: February 29, 2024 | 12:30 - 5:00 PM
March 1, 2024 | 8:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Location: Bonnet Springs Park
400 Bonnet Springs Boulevard, Building 900, Lakeland, FL 33815
The Lay of the Land conference is offered to our clients, landowners, and related interests. We respectfully ask that real estate brokers and licensed associates do not attend the event.
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Event Schedule

Thursday, February 29

Time Event
12:30 PM Attendee Check In
1:00 PM Welcome | Dean Saunders, ALC, CCIM
1:30 PM Legislative Update | Wilton Simpson, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture 
1:45 PM

30 Years of Conservation Easements
These visionary leaders and key figures each held pivotal roles in pioneering the use of conservation easements in Florida. Together, they will discuss the inception and evolution of the Green Swamp Land Authority, celebrating the transformative impact of Florida land preservation over the past three decades.

  - Eric Draper, Environmental Finance and Policy Advisor
  - Dean Saunders, ALC, CCIM
  - Claude Smoak, Former Chairman - Green Swamp Land Authority
  - Charles Lee, Director of Advocacy - Audubon Florida
  - Rick Dantzler, COO - Citrus Research and Development Foundation 
  - Charles H. Houder III, Land Conservation Consultant

2:45 PM Break
3:00 PM

Breakout Sessions

Ballroom A | How Transportation is Shaping Florida's Economic Growth
Dive into the transformative impact of strategic infrastructure development, innovative transit solutions, and the intersection of technology and transportation. From enhancing connectivity to fostering economic hubs, this panel aims to unravel the relationship between transportation initiatives and Florida's flourishing economic growth.

  - Vickie Chachere, Journalist and Communications Professional
  - Ed Washington, Vice President of Real Estate - Tampa Port Authority
  - Ryan Cronin, President - CITY Furniture
  - Tim Weisheyer - Greater Orlando Aviation Authority

Ballroom B | Mineral Rights
Mineral Rights are a crucial aspect of land ownership that often goes unnoticed. During this breakout session, our expert panelists will dive into the complexities and opportunities surrounding mineral rights in Florida, exploring the legal, economic, and environmental dimensions.

  - Trent Saunders, Senior Advisor - SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler
  - Wendi McAleese, President - American Government Services
  - Lenord Johnson, Partner -  Johnson Pope Bokor Ruppel & Burns, LLP
  - Richard Dempsey, Senior Advisor - SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler

4:00 PM Break
4:15 PM

Breakout Sessions

Ballroom A | Report from the Hill
This insightful discussion brings together policy experts and industry insiders to provide attendees with a comprehensive overview of the current and impending legislative landscape impacting landowners in Florida. From land use regulations to environmental policies, insurance impacts, tax updates, and beyond, our panelists will shed light on the latest developments, potential implications, and strategic insights to help you navigate the evolving political terrain.

  - Tyler Davis, CPA, ALC
  - Ben Mills, Vice President, Sales - Carden & Associates, Inc.
  - Andrew Walmsley, Director of Legislative Affairs - Florida Farm Bureau Federation
  - Michael Minton, Partner - Dean Mead 
  - Austin Alderman, Associate - Dean Mead

Ballroom B | Agricultural Investments
Against the backdrop of Florida's unique agricultural landscape, our seasoned panelists will delve into the current market conditions shaping the business of farming and land-based investments. From the impact of climate change to evolving consumer preferences, technological advancements, and governmental policies, this session aims to provide attendees with a nuanced understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the agricultural sector. 

  - Jeff Cusson, CCIM, Senior Advisor - SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler
  - Johan Dam, Chief Marketing & Risk Officer - Farm Credit of Central Florida
  - Rhett Rogers, SVP, Portfolio Management - Rayonier
  - Brett Smith, Senior Associate - Gladstone

5:15 PM Networking Reception

Friday, March 1

Time Event
8:00 AM Attendee Check In & Breakfast Buffet
9:00 AM Welcome
  - Dean Saunders, ALC, CCIM
9:15 AM Florida’s Economic Outlook
  - Jerry D. Parrish, Ph.D., Economist - Florida State University 
9:45 AM

State of Timberland
With land parcelization happening up and down the peninsula and several high-profile mill closures making the news in recent months, timberland investments have become a topic of conversation. This panel will bring together leaders in consulting forestry, timberland real estate, forest landowners, and industry to discuss the current state of timberland in Florida.

  - John T. “Jack” Vogel, President/Co-Founder - Natural Resource Planning Services
  - Greg Driskell, Senior Advisor - SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler
  - Wesley Carter, President - Loncala
  - Mike Daniel, Robbins Manufacturing
  - Ken Griner, Usher Land & Timber
  - Eric Handley, Usher Land & Timber

10:45 AM Break
11:00 AM

Developer Response to Current Market and Beyond
This discussion will examine the intricacies of the present market conditions and the implications of rising interest rates, deal volume fluctuations, and disruptions in the real estate sector. Gain valuable insights into how industry leaders are adapting to challenges, seizing opportunities, and strategizing for the future amidst the evolving economic environment.

  - Gary Ralston, CCIM, SIOR, CRE
  - Noah Breakstone, CEO - BTI Partners
  - Timothy P. Hultgren, Division President - D.R. Horton
  - Bobby Anderson, Managing Director - Alliance Residential Company

12:00 PM Lunch
12:30 PM

Lay of the Land Market Report
The exclusive Lay of the Land Market Report continues to be the single source of verified Florida sales data used to evaluate market trends and land values throughout the year. 
  - Dean Saunders, ALC, CCIM

2022 Lay of the Land
Market Report

The Lay of the Land Market Report continues to be the single source compiling verified Florida land sales data to evaluate market trends throughout the year. We provide data to landowners that can be accurately interpreted and applied, leading to more informed, relevant decisions.

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2024 Strategic Partners







Become a Sponsor at the 2024 Florida Land Conference

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The Lay of the Land conference is organized and sponsored exclusively by SVN Saunders Ralston Dantzler Real Estate and is offered to our clients, landowners, and related interests. This is our primary audience and space is limited, so we respectfully ask that real estate brokers and licensed associates do not attend the event.