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WHEREAS, circumstances in the New Jersey dairy industry during 2006 created what was called the “perfect storm” wherein high feed, fuel and energy costs, a 25-year low in raw milk prices, and weather-related losses converged, thereby threatening the continued existence of every dairy producer in New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, the Director of the Division of Marketing and Development issued an order on September 28, 2006 establishing regulations that all required licensed processors and dealers to pay New Jersey producers a fuel adjustment add-on for all milk purchased from a New Jersey producers, and

WHEREAS, New Jersey dairy producers did see milk prices rebound in 2007, and that increased income was used by some producers to repay outstanding debt from the previous 17 months of negative profitability; and

WHEREAS, producers  also have experienced additional increases in costs of production rising from $14.00 per cwt in 2006 to an estimated $19.00 per cwt for 2007, which can also be related to record high prices for feed, fuel and energy costs, and

WHEREAS, New Jersey dairy producers are a critical component in maintaining locally produced, high quality milk for consumption, supporting rural economies, providing tax paying open space, maintaining the aesthetic value of rural New Jersey and maintaining the dairy farming industry in this State, which is beneficial to all of New Jersey’s citizens; and

WHEREAS,  it is critical that a holistic approach be established to assist New Jersey’s dairy industry utilizing a multi-faceted approach implementing both short-term and long-term industry reforms as was suggested by the Director in his September 28, 2006 Order; sufficiently funding the Garden State Dairy Alliance; further development of the Jersey Fresh Milk promotion program; and any future “Directors Orders” derived from the current hearing process, including the implementation of an rBST premium.   

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 93rd State Agriculture Convention, assembled in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, on February 6, 2008, support the current and previous efforts of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture to ensure that the dairy industry remains viable and sustainable at all levels of the industry, from the farm to the consumer, through both its long term and short term approaches described in the Director’s September 28, 2006 Order, as well as any new Orders established by the Director from the current hearing process.  

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Department and the Governor to continue support of the Fuel Adjustment Add-on as well as establishing a competitive rBST-free premium for New Jersey producers.   

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Department be a leader on a Statewide and regional basis in providing for reasonable profit and sustainability at all levels of the dairy industry while protecting the consumer economically and by ensuring that they receive a safe, wholesome, competitively priced product.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we direct the Department to work through and expand the membership of the Garden State Dairy Alliance to assist in the stabilization and expansion of all levels of the industry from the farm to the table through the accomplishment of the following:

  • The Department through the Dairy Alliance should establish benchmarks to improve production output and profitability per cow and/or per farm;
  • The Department should identify a funding source(s) for the Dairy Quality Improvement Program to further the goal of increasing the production of some of the highest quality milk in the region; 
  • The Department should cooperate with the Northeast Dairy Development Initiative and Task Force in order to ensure that a  competitive level is maintained for all the New Jersey dairy industry;
  • The Department through the Dairy Alliance should establish programs to expand the dairy industry in New Jersey, as well as to establish programs designed to encourage the establishment of new dairy farms, both conventional and value-added, the development of new technology, and the development of new processing techniques and new markets for both conventional and value-added milk and milk products, similar to Pennsylvania’s Incubator Program to encourage future farm expansion and production;
  • The Department through the Dairy Alliance should help the dairy industry establish a dominant role in the production of bio-gas as an alternative energy source; and
  • The Department should establish through regulation a milk pricing system for the purpose of maintaining a fresh local supply of milk and milk products and to eliminate the volatile market that exists today while protecting the consumer from any form of price gouging.