2006 Economic Development Strategies - Equine
During the past 25 years, the region’s horse racing industry has faced many challenges including the advent of casino gambling, an increasingly popular state lottery, the 2001 closure of Garden State Park, the loss of racing days at Atlantic City Racetrack and declining audiences at live races due to simulcasting. To compensate, states neighboring New Jersey are combining different wagering technologies with horse racing. Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York already have either slot machines or video lottery terminals installed at tracks or they have recently passed legislation permitting them. These efforts are attracting larger racetrack audiences and enhancing revenues.
Based on the most recent data, New Jersey’s equine industry, composed predominately of pleasure breeds, accounts for an estimated 81,000 acres of farmland across the state. The state’s breeding stock alone has an overall value in excess of $600 million. Equine related assets including feed, bedding, fencing, equipment, transportation, insurance, blacksmith and veterinary services contribute $672 million to the state’s economy annually.
As part of its efforts to support the equine industry, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture administers numerous disease control programs to help keep horses healthy. The Department is a leader in the research on West Nile Virus and its work has been used throughout the world to develop programs that address the disease.
Since 2003 a new breeder program has been advertised for standardbreds and work is continuing toward a thoroughbred-breeding program. The Equine Science center continued its research, and the NJ Equine Advisory Board continued its efforts to bolster promotion and education efforts to stimulate interest, attract new owners, and create career opportunities in the equine industry.
As one of the most progressive equine states New Jersey offers racing as well as riding trails, rodeos, active 4-H and handicapped riding programs as well as many horse shows and competitions. In 2005 the FFA Horse Team received an individual silver medal at the National Level in the Career Development Event and one of the members.
In addition to continuing the Department’s programs to ensure horse health and promote the industry, in 2005 income from casinos will be increasing purses and supporting breeding programs. Major improvements are also being considered for Monmouth Park in preparation for the upcoming Breeder’s Cup scheduled in 2007.
8.0 EQUINE STRATEGIES
8.1 Ensure Horse Health
71) STRATEGY - Work with horse owners to assure awareness of disease threats and animal safety. Continue working to protect the health of horses from the immediate threat of devastating and economically damaging diseases.
72) STRATEGY – Work with Rutgers University’s Cook College to continue development of a state-of-the-art research facility for its Equine Science Center. The Center is developing cost-effective techniques for nutrient and waste management to ensure the compatible co-existence of horse farms in urban and suburban environments.
73) STRATEGY - Work to implement the recommendations of the Department’s “Focus on New Jersey’s Horse Racing Industry” report and seek to augment purse values, increase track attendance, and improve the industry’s supportive infrastructure.
8.3 Promote the Industry
74) STRATEGY – Continue working with the Horse Park to explore the possibility of hosting future Olympic equestrian events and other prestige events.