In 2005 New Jersey’s commercial dairy producers marketed 179 million lbs of milk valued at $27.6 million. New Jersey’s estimated 11,000 cows produced on the average 16,300 pounds of milk per cow are primarily located in the counties of Salem, Sussex, Warren, Gloucester and Burlington. Those five counties represent 85 percent of New Jersey’s milk production. Sustaining New Jersey’s Dairy industry is imperative in order to provide a fresh and healthy source of dairy products to all New Jersey residents’ young and old as well as maintaining open space and productive agricultural lands.
Over the past 12 months, New Jersey dairy producers have experienced what has been defined as the perfect storm as input costs for feed, fuel, fertilizer and chemicals increased and milk prices falling to a 25 year low combined with weather related losses and a disaster designation.
Today, though challenged with the above items the number of commercial dairy farms statewide totals approximately 111 farms, this number has not changed much in recent months but the number of cows per farm has fallen with larger farms leaving and smaller farms entering the industry, this trend has created a loss of 20 cows per farm on the average with the current number of cows per farm at 80 cows.
In 2007 the Department, through the efforts of the Garden State Dairy Alliance, will continue to provide technical support in the further advancement of the milk production industry as well as the processing and distribution of milk and milk products in order to sustain a sufficient milk supply to New Jersey’s estimated 8.9 million residents. The Department will continue to support value-added products through the “Jersey Fresh” Quality Grading Program and promote the nutritional benefits of milk and milk products through programs such as “Healthy Choices; Healthy Kids” Farm profitability, and infrastructure redevelopment will continue to be a priority and legislation and regulation that affects the industry will continue to be monitored. In 2007 educational programs for the general public and elected officials on the value of the industry will be continued as will animal health, bio-security and food safety programs.
4.0 DAIRY STRATEGIES
4.1 Evaluate Legislation and Regulation
42) STRATEGY – Continue tracking possible federal legislation to ensure more stable short-term on-farm milk prices. Work with the State’s Ratification Committee to continue to seek alternatives that will update and improve the regulations that affect the dairy industry that encompasses, but is not limited to, the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program and establishing a Northeast compact..
43) STRATEGY – Continue to monitor options related to creating unified New Jersey Dairy Council to meet the needs of both North and South Jersey producers and allow for greater local control over advertising budgets.
44) STRATEGY - Create a new industry working group of distributors, processing and retail representatives which will be responsible for identifying and evaluating practices and programs that will help to sustain New Jersey’s dairy industry
4.2 Increase Demand for Milk
45) STRATEGY- Continue to support the distribution of milk as “Jersey Fresh,” “Made with Premium Jersey Fresh Milk,” “Made with Jersey Fresh Milk”, “Jersey Fresh Flavored Milk” and “Jersey Fresh Milk.” Integrate the sale and promotion of Jersey Fresh dairy product sales at community and retail markets throughout the State.
46) STRATEGY– In conjunction with the Healthy Choices, Healthy Kids initiative, continue to promote the nutritional benefits of drinking milk at a young age. The Department and producers will work with the Northeast Dairy Council to promote the initiative.
47) STRATEGY - Work with producer groups to market milk and milk products to co-packers and work to establish a processing facility to produce high-end soft cheeses and other products.
4.3 Ensure Quality Production and Food Safety
48) STRATEGY- Continue to work with the Garden State Dairy Alliance to support the dairy industry with technical assistance to coordinate a multi-disciplinary team of state and federal partners to cooperatively address issues related to animal health, milk quality, nutrient management, bio-security and dairy industry development.
1. The alliance will work to help sustain a viable and thriving dairy industry in New Jersey.
2. Continue to work with Pennsylvania and other states to develop relationships beneficial to New Jersey’s dairy Continue working to protect the health of the dairy industry from the threat of devastating and economically damaging diseases.
3. Seek to secure funding for the Garden State Dairy Alliance Milk Quality Program to document the quality of raw and processed milk and milk products to assure the safety and wholesomeness of dairy products.
4. Continue working with Rutgers and NJ Farm Bureau to promote the FIN Pak Program, a software program for dairy farmers that promotes good business practices through financial management analyses. The alliance benchmarks when implemented will help position dairy operations to compete and sustain a viable, thriving, highly productive and high quality dairy industry in New Jersey if mastered.