Monday, April 13, 2009

NJ's Seven Head Rule

Farmers face new animal waste laws
Sunday, April 12, 2009
By Randall Clark

A new set of state rules have been enacted to guide how farmers dispose of their manure and manage their pastures, attempting to minimize the impact of agricultural pollution.

The process of getting Salem County livestock and equine owners on board is under way, though several have relayed a sense of foreboding on what it will mean for their operations.

"It's a little scary. I don't really know what it means for me yet," said one county horse owner, who wished not to be named because of the mounting piles of manure on their 14-horse operation.

Developed under the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, any farm with more than seven animals (of 1,000 pounds or more) must devise a comprehensive waste management plan.

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Seven head. That’s all the livestock you need to own in New Jersey to require that you have a nutrient management plan. How many producers can afford to hire an engineer to make their management plans for them if they only own seven head? Livestock producers strive to be good stewards of the land, but this is nothing but a blatant attempt to eliminate livestock in New Jersey. There is one other thing to learn from this. Many times in agriculture, we see people in our own industry working hard for the “big producers” to be more heavily regulated. It’s important to remember that anytime regulations like that are put in place, they will always end up trickling down and affecting everyone involved, regardless of how “big” you are.

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