2008 Economic Development Strategies - Dairy Industry
In 2006 New Jersey’s commercial dairy producers marketed 163 million lbs of milk valued at $22.0 million. New Jersey’s estimated 11,000 cows produced on the average 14,800 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 of 2006, 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 .During the past 12 months of 2007, New Jersey dairy producers have seen an increase in milk prices to an all time high in September and October of 2007 but they have also seen their cost of production rise well above the $19.00 per cwt range.
The Department in 2007 implemented a Fuel Adjustment Add-on program to assist producers with increased costs of diesel fuel. This action was warranted and allowable with in the current USDA minimum pricing structure. Producers received in excess of $375,000 by this market driven program.
Today, though challenged with the above items the number of commercial dairy farms statewide totals approximately 105 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. Their has also been a reduction of out put per farm due to the increased cost of production and a negative milk to feed ratio during the first 9 months of the year.
In 2007 Department, was unable to fund critical programs of the Garden State Dairy Alliance, to assist producers with technical support in the further advancement of the milk production industry, limited funding has been made available for 2008. 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 2008 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
35) 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. As well as working with licensed milk dealers to provide a sound productive market within New Jersey.
36) 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.
37) 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
38) 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.
39) 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.
4.3 Ensure Quality Production and Food Safety
40) STRATEGY– Expand the efforts of 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 the USDA, 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.
41) STRATEGY - Establish health and safety standards for the sale of raw milk directly to consumers should the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services allow such sales, including: A strict Animal Health testing program implemented at the cost of the producer, which would cover all the communicable and transmittable diseases to humans; strict daily sanitation testing and recordkeeping required to provide a level of food safety; and requirements for a label reading, “May be hazardous to the health of the consumer,” or similar language pointing out that safety of the product cannot be guaranteed.