With an estimated value of $ 45.5 million, New Jersey’s livestock and poultry sector is a significant contributor to the state’s agricultural economy. The competitive pricing of the U.S. commodity market structure combined with New Jersey’s higher than average feed and production costs can be disadvantages for our state’s livestock industry. New Jersey’s livestock industry is currently approaching a new marketing era with fewer commercial size operations and a trend toward alternative livestock and production methods. Direct or value-added marketing will be a driving factor for the livestock industry in New Jersey. The Department has worked to ensure that the existing structure of the industry is maintained and has facilitated growth in the emerging market structure.
The Department continues to work to protect livestock and poultry from disease.
A healthy industry is also largely dependent upon well cared for animals. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture administers numerous disease control programs to ensure the health of livestock and poultry throughout the state. As a part of the Garden State Dairy Alliance, the Department offers voluntary animal health programs such as, “New Jersey Cattle Health Assurance Program” and the “New Jersey Sheep and Goat Health Assurance Program.” These programs improve the management of livestock operations as well as assuring a safer food product for the consuming public.
Through education and inspections, the Department is active in avian influenza surveillance and eradication, periodically testing the live poultry markets, livestock auctions, and backyard flocks while helping owners to limit the risk of avian influenza in the markets.
The successful Jersey Fresh brand has been extended to the equine and 4-H raised lambs with the promotion of the Jersey Bred brand in 2005. As a result of the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program grant to study the economics of raising and marketing goats a new goat purchasing program will be established to support this significant new industry.
Through grants the New Jersey Junior Breeders’ Fund is helping future generations of agricultural education/FFA students and 4-H members to continue to advance the breeding of purebred livestock and the production quality of grade livestock.
In 2008 the Department will continue working to ensure animal health, enhance industry marketing, and encourage production while examining new and non-traditional New Jersey livestock products and markets for those products.
6.0 LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY STRATEGIES
6.1 Ensure Animal Health
47) STRATEGY – Through the continued implementation of best management practices for bio-security, the department will continue working to protect the health of the livestock and poultry industry from the immediate threat of devastating and economically damaging diseases.
6.2 Enhance Marketing Efforts
48) STRATEGY- Work to strengthen the branding of livestock products under the Jersey Bred program.
6.3 Encourage Production of Goat Products
49) STRATEGY – Continue to work to match the farm management practices of new and beginning farmers to include the feed out of goats on a seasonal basis to maximize inputs and reduce costs associated with feeding these ruminant animals. This will also aid in maintaining the open space benefits of rougher grasslands. Assist in the expansion of New Jersey’s goat production through support for a goat purchasing program established through the New Jersey Junior Breeder’s program.
6.4 Encourage Production of Grass-Fed Animals
50) STRATEGY – The marketing and distribution of fresh and frozen grass-fed and organic grass-fed livestock products throughout the state will be supported.
51) STRATEGY– Expand the number of farmers markets that currently offer fresh meat products.
6.5 Work with Markets
52) STRATEGY – Continue the progress being made with the state’s livestock markets to upgrade their facilities and adapt their operations to better meet the particular needs of both traditional and ethnic markets. Initiate a dialogue with the auction markets to conduct graded sales.
53) STRATEGY – Support the sale and marketing of locally produced poultry meat and eggs. Monitor the health code and market regulations that affect this industry to ensure that they address current industry models of production and distribution.
6.6 Promote an Annual Market for Sheep, Goats
54) STRATEGY – Continue to develop and promote livestock sales at several locations throughout the State and enhance support for the sale of market lambs and 4-H animals.
6.7 Support Youth Programs
55) STRATEGY - Continue to support the New Jersey Junior Breeders’ Fund loan program which is helping future generations of agricultural education/FFA students and 4-H members to continue to advance the breeding of purebred livestock and the production quality of grade livestock.