2007 Economic Development Strategies - Equine Industry
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 and other reasons. To compensate, states neighboring New Jersey have combined different wagering technologies with horse racing. Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York already have implemented either slot machines or video lottery terminals at tracks in their states. These efforts are attracting larger racetrack audiences and increasing purses for horses competing at those tracks.
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 directly contributes $698 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.
New breeder programs have been established for standardbreds and thoroughbreds. The Equine Science center continues its research, and the NJ Equine Advisory Board continues to bolster promotion and education efforts that 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.
The Horse Park of New Jersey continues to grow and has become one of the largest equestrian venues in the Eastern United States. In 2006 the Horse park hosted one hundred and two days of activities as well as the Garden State Standardbred sale and three international events highlighted by the Jersey Fresh Contours Complete International competing at levels CCI**/CCI***.
In addition to continuing the Department’s programs to ensure horse health and promote the industry, in 2007 income from casinos will continue to increase, adding money to purses and supporting breeding programs. Major improvements are also being considered for Monmouth Park in preparation for the upcoming Breeder’s Cup scheduled for October 27, 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. As an example 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.
8.2 Promote the Industry
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.
74) STRATEGY – Continue to host Olympic caliber events and to promote the state’s many quality venues and prestige events.
75) STRATEGY– In 2007, in addition to training clinics, horse shows, festivals and industry meetings the Horse Park of New Jersey will continue to host auction sales.
76) STRATEGY– Continue to improve the New Jersey equine website highlighting the sectors of New Jersey’s Equine Industry activities. The website will improve coordination of all equine activities in the state and feature schedules of events, horseback riding trails and other industry related activities.
77) STRATEGY - Bolster promotion and education of the pleasure horse and racing industries to increase interest and work to stimulate new owners and create career opportunities.
78) STRATEGY - Continue working with 4-H to establish new clubs that will expand the interest in standard bred racing.
79) STRATEGY - Work on developing and strengthening the promotion of the Jersey Bred brand and logo.
8.3 Improve Right to Farm Protection
80) STRATEGY - Develop, propose and adopt the Equine AMP (Agricultural Management Practices) to allow for increased right-to-farm protection for New Jersey’s equine industry.