During 2007, New Jersey dairy producers have experienced a rebound in milk prices, while at the same time facing record-high feed, fuel and fertilizer costs that have significantly impacted profit margins.. In 2007, New Jersey dairy producers saw a stable market during the first six months and declining prices in the second half of the year.
In 2008, following the decision of the dairy hearings, the Department continued the Fuel Adjustment Add-on program to assist producers with elevated diesel fuel costs. This action was warranted and allowable within the current USDA minimum pricing structure. Producers in 2007 received $419,113.23, and in the first 10 months of 2008 received payments totaling $769,703.68 through this market-driven program of Class One fluid milk sales.
Today, though challenged with the above items, the number of commercial dairy farms statewide totals approximately 104 farms. This number has not changed much in recent months but the number of cows per farm has fallen compared to previous years. During 2008, the increased daily production output per farm and the decrease in total cow numbers should relate to an increase in per-cow production during the year.
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 “Eat Right, Move More.” Farm profitability and infrastructure redevelopment will continue to be a priority, and legislation and regulations that affect the industry will be monitored. In 2009, educational programs for the general public and elected officials on the value of the industry to the State of New Jersey will be continued, as will outreach through the Garden State Dairy Alliance in the areas of animal health, bio-security and food safety.
4.1 Evaluate Legislation and Regulation
34) STRATEGY – Continue submission of concepts and ideas for possible federal legislation to ensure more stable short-term on-farm milk pricing program. 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, Clean Air and Water legislation, and establishing a Northeast compact type pricing program. As well as working with licensed milk dealers to provide a sound productive market within New Jersey.
35) 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.
36) STRATEGY – Seek to 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 the entire New Jersey’s dairy industry and marketing channels.
4.2 Increase Demand for Milk
37) STRATEGY- Continue to support the distribution of milk and milk products 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.
38) STRATEGY – In conjunction with the “Eat Right, Move More” initiative, continue to promote the nutritional benefits of drinking milk at a young age. The Department and producers will work with the New Jersey Dairy Council as well as the American Dairy Association / District Council and Mid-Atlantic Dairy Promotion Council to promote the initiative.
4.3 Ensure Quality Production and Food Safety
39) STRATEGY – Reorganize and redefine the Garden State Dairy Alliance so that it is better able to assist in the support the dairy industry with technical assistance and to coordinate a multi-disciplinary team of state and federal partners to cooperatively address issues related to risk management, animal health, milk quality, nutrient management, bio-security and dairy industry development.
1. The Alliance will work to aid in the sustainability of a complete, viable and thriving dairy industry in New Jersey.
2. Work with the North East Dairy Leadership Team as well as other federal and state agencies within the northeast region to develop relationships beneficial to New Jersey’s dairy industry and the wholesale and retail of milk and milk products. Continue working to protect the health of the dairy industry from the threat of devastating and economically damaging financial losses.
3. Seek to secure funding for the Garden State Dairy Alliance Milk Quality and Risk Management Program. Establish benchmarks for the industry and develop methods to increase productivity of the entire dairy industry. Document the quality of raw and processed milk and milk products produced processed and marketed to the consumers of the state and assure the safety and wholesomeness of dairy products.
4. Continue working with Rutgers and NJ Farm Bureau to promote the FIN PAK and Risk management programs so that producers are able to understand and utilize all financial tools available in the management process.
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.
40) STRATEGY – Establish a balanced health and safety standard 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 informing the general public that “ Raw Milk may be hazardous to the health of the consumer,” or similar language pointing out that safety of the product cannot be guaranteed.