skip to main content skip to main navigation
Mission Statement

To coordinate a multi-disciplinary team with State and Federal partners to cooperatively address issues related to animal health, milk quality, nutrient management, biosecurity, economic stability, marketing and dairy industry development. The alliance will work to help sustain a viable and thriving dairy industry in New Jersey.


  1. To offer New Jersey dairy farmers and supporting industries the comprehensive resources and assistance from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and Rutgers Cooperative Extension.
  2. To provide a program of technical assistance to the dairy producers in managing production, marketing, financial, environmental, legal and human risks associated with operating a dairy enterprise.


Over the past decade, New Jersey witnessed the closure of more than half its dairy farms. Today, the number of commercial dairy farms statewide totals approximately 114. Farmers’ decisions to abandon dairy farming are largely attributable to the high cost of doing business, coupled with volatile pricing in the federal milk marketing system, which results in low profits. Though the number of farms has rapidly decreased, milk production has declined at a slower rate due to herd expansion and improved dairy herd production and management. New Jersey’s milk production in 2003 totaled 216 million pounds valued at $27.6 million. Milk production in 1991 totaled 349 million pounds valued at $54 million.

Currently, the New Jersey dairy industry is composed of 26,000 dairy and dairy replacement animals, with a replacement value of $39 million, generating cash receipts of nearly $8 million in cattle sales per year.

Despite the decline in the number of dairy farms, the industry remains a vital part of New Jersey agriculture and the landscape of the Garden State.

The Garden State Dairy Alliance has been formed to provide better services to the New Jersey dairy farmers and supporting industry, and to develop a more comprehensive, efficient delivery of programs offered by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, and Rutgers’s New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. The Alliance is composed of the Division of Animal Health, the Division of Marketing and Development, the Division of Agricultural & Natural Resources, and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension. This multi-disciplinary approach allows greater accessibility for the farmer while at the same time limiting the amount of time spent with each agency thereby minimizing farm visits. This enables the farmer to spend more time working on the farm while maximizing the amount of services that are offered to him and allowing opportunities for increased farm profitability.

Programs Offered

black arrow graphic Initial Contacts 
black arrow graphic Disease Control Programs
black arrow graphic Milk Quality Control Program
black arrow graphic Marketing and Promotion
black arrow graphic Animal Waste Management
black arrow graphic Business Management Planning
black arrow graphic Regulatory Services
black arrow graphic Technical Assistance and Enrollment

Initial Contacts

Dan Wunderlich, New Jersey Department of Agriculture
(609) 292-6382

David Lee, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Salem County
(856) 769-0090

Disease Control Programs

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health maintains disease control programs to protect the health and well being of livestock in New Jersey. The division tracks information about emerging diseases around the world that may impact the Garden State, conducts epidemiological investigations of livestock diseases and drug residues, operates an animal health diagnostic laboratory, and supports an aggressive Johne's disease control program.

New Jersey Cattle Health Assurance Program (NJCHAP)
NJCHAP is designed to help producers target areas in their business where they might be able to realize increased profits. The program ideally brings Animal Health personnel, regular herd veterinarians and extension agents to the producers as consultants to help them realize a financially profitable future in the state of New Jersey.

  • The Core Module is designed to offer producers a “Best Management Practices” overview. The farmers can have input from the Division of Animal Health to help them improve the farm’s bottom line by discussing possible areas were management changes might minimize the amount of work they have to do and to increase the profitability of their operation.
  • The Johne’s Module is the most popular module for NJCHAP and the entry point for most farmers. It allows farmers to develop customized eradication, control and prevention strategies for this disease with the aid of Division of Animal Health staff and resources. The goal is to be able to certify herds as Johne’s negative in accordance with federal guidelines. New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) offers free whole-herd blood tests and free follow-up fecal cultures for positives. NJDA field staff visit participating farms, and, together with an Extension representative, produce a risk assessment for Johne’s and also a herd prevention/control plan specifically tailored to that farm. Negative herds have the option to pursue a status as a validated Johne’s-negative herd, in accordance with the federal guidelines.

    Johne's Information Center
    Johne's Disease - Beef Brochure
    Johne's Disease - Dairy Brochure

  • Diseases of Concern—New modules are added to the NJCHAP program in a continuing manner based on diseases that become a concern to dairy producers or the public.

Farm Security and Biosecurity
In this day and age with increasing risk of agro-terrorism, agriculture is becoming an increasingly conspicuous target. Animal agriculture is a particularly attractive target, because of the perceived “softness” of the target, and the potential for widespread effect secondary to terrorist attack.

The New Jersey of Department of Agriculture is committed to helping farms implement modern biosecure practices and protect one of New Jersey’s most valuable assets from natural, accidental and intentional disasters.

In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the department has ramped up its efforts to develop industry-leading standards for the protection of farms and livestock. Training workshops, discussion and other forms of communication are valuable tools for the Division of Animal Health to help dairy producers protect the integrity of their products and livelihood.

Herd Health Management
Garden State Dairy Alliance will help producers improve their herd health and business management, through the ability to bring a wide range of expertise and experience to bear on any problem the herdsman/owner can identify, including mastitis, reproduction, water quality, and manure management.

Field Investigation/Epidemiology of Disease Outbreaks

Large animal practitioners depend on the Department of Agriculture for assistance in investigating disease outbreaks or unexplained deaths of cattle. The Department will determine whether it is a foreign animal disease, and send a field veterinarian out to the farm to investigate, take samples for laboratory submission, perform necropsies, and try to get a diagnosis as soon as possible. The Department will do the same for aborted cattle fetus problems. This service is free to the dairy farmer.

Sebastian Reist, DVM, (609) 671-6400,

Milk Quality Control Program

As a segment of the New Jersey Cattle Health Assurance Program, the Milk Quality program will be made available to all dairy producers within the state to improve the quality of milk produced on New Jersey dairy farms. Producer participation will be voluntary. Participating producers will be required to sign a memorandum of understanding to participate in the program. The New Jersey Dairy Alliance partner for the project is Dave Lee, Rutgers Cooperative Extension Agent, Salem County.

The ultimate aim of the Garden State Dairy Alliance Milk Quality Control Program will be to ensure that the original nutritional qualities, flavor and appearance of the milk have been preserved and that no harmful microorganisms or substances are present.

Currently, there is no single program that applies to all farms or even to the same farm all the time. Through this program, milk quality protocols will be farm-specific based on objectives determined by the participating farm.


  • Bulk Tank Culturing
    • All herds enrolled in the program will be required to participate in this segment of the program
    • Bulk tank samples will be collected weekly by the milk haulers at each farm enrolled
    • Samples will be frozen at the processor
    • Two samples per month will be cultured for potential mastitis-causing organisms
    • Two samples will be retained for further diagnosis if the need arises
    • Results will be reported monthly
  • Somatic Cell Count Tracking (SCC)
    • Monthly SCC counts will be obtained from the processor
    • Monthly SCC counts will be obtained from Dairy Herd Improvement Association-tested herds
    • History will be compiled and will be reported monthly
  • Individual or Clinical Cow Culturing
    • Participants will be shown how to take sterile individual cow cultures
    • Samples will be frozen with pertinent information recorded to identify stage of lactation and animal ID and reason for culture
    • Samples will be collected by various methods and times depending on the reason for the cultures
    • Participants will be notified of the results of the tests and protocol will be defined and information will be shared with the appropriate veterinarian with herd owners approval
    • Veterinarian will develop appropriate treatment plan
  • Full Herd Culturing
    • A full herd culture will be offered when determined through planning and bulk tank culturing that it is warranted
    • Participants must provide all lactation information and records for the cows cultured
    • Herd veterinarian will be notified of the results
    • Appropriate treatment plan for infected cows will be developed by the veterinarian
    • Herd management plan will be developed to manage herd in the future
  • Herd Monitoring Program
    • Herd management with surveillance and monitoring is the key to controlling potential problems. Herds enrolled and making progress in management practices will have the benefits of the following tool and services:

      Charm-Firefly test:
      • Will be used to evaluate general sanitation and bacteria loads of milking equipment in stanchions, parlors, and milk houses.
      • This service would aid in management decisions to produce a more wholesome product.

      Cow side somatic cell count:
      • Test strips and electronic reader will be used, as appropriate, to help determine problem cows needing further intervention.

      • An electro conductive recorder that evaluates milking time preparation, milk flow and unit detachment in order to improve udder health.

      Herd Health Assessments:
      • Will be utilized to evaluate animal husbandry practices, food safety and environmental concerns.
      • Management practices operating procedures will be established.

      Herd Team Meetings:
      • Herds that want to gain greater management skills or working on special projects affecting the farm will have access to teams of industry professionals working with the Garden State Dairy Alliance.

Dan Wunderlich, (609) 292-6382, 
David Lee, (856) 769-0090,

Marketing and Promotion

The Garden State Dairy Alliance partnership can play a critical role in sustaining the dairy industry and provide programs that will enable producers to increase their bottom line for their operation. The process of producing, marketing and creating value-added products profitably involves various complex marketing channels. Through the efforts of New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, the process of developing, enhancing, and expanding the marketing of dairy and dairy products will be addressed. Benefits of the various programs will position New Jersey dairy producers to lower the potential risks involved while changing from a commodity market structure to a value-added market with higher profitability.

Dairy Promotion
The New Jersey Dairy Industry Advisory Council was formed in 1971, under the New Jersey Agriculture Research, Development and Promotion Act of 1970, to administer a program of milk research, development and promotion designed to increase the consumption of milk and dairy products.

Funding for the Council's activities is derived from an assessment of ten cents per hundredweight of milk delivered by producers to processors for sale. Traditionally, the Council has forwarded most of this assessment to the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, Inc., for regional dairy product advertising, promotion and nutrition education. The Council also supports other dairy promotions activities at county fairs, the State Dairy Princess program and other dairy programs when applied for and approved by the council.

Jersey Fresh Dairy RegulationJersey Fresh logo
In 2004, the Department - with input from the dairy industry - established the Jersey Fresh milk branding guidelines with the following grade certifications; “Jersey Fresh Milk,” “Jersey Fresh Flavored Milk,” “Made with Premium Jersey Fresh Milk” and “Made with Jersey Fresh Milk.” These new grades allow producers to directly benefit from the widely recognizable Jersey Fresh brand name as well as establish quality standards higher than current industry levels. The program will expand retail markets, shelf space and attract New Jersey consumers to the locally-produced New Jersey milk.

Economic Development Strategies for New Jersey Dairy Industry

In addition to the branding, Garden State Dairy Alliance members are working on several future strategies to increase the demand for New Jersey dairy products. Several value-added products are being evaluated, including flavored milk and yogurt. In conjunction with the Healthy Choices, Healthy Kids initiative, the Department continues to promote the nutritional benefits of drinking milk at a young age. Marketing low-fat flavored milk in New Jersey’s schools is being evaluated. Another Department strategy is to promote dairy product sales at community and retail markets throughout the State. Unified New Jersey Dairy Council, designed for greater local control over advertising budgets, is being considered.

Market Information / Retail Price Overview
The Division of Marketing and Development provides statistical information through the Milk Marketing Administrators office of the Northeast Milk Marketing Order. This information is given to milk dealers, consumers and interested parties. Dairy market developments are constantly monitored to respond to market disruptions. Production and Market trends are monitored to advise the dairy industry on current issues that arise. Educational programs through New Jersey Department of Agriculture and Rutgers Cooperative Extension are offered to producers so that they can better understand the marketing channels available to them.

New Jersey Junior Breeder Program
Established as a True Loan Fund in the early 1920's by Joseph S. Frelinghuysen, president of the State Board of Agriculture, and incorporated on October 17, 1930.

The New Jersey Junior Breeders' Loan Program is a dedicated funding program that enables the agricultural youth of New Jersey to secure funds, purchase livestock, establish production projects and keep accurate records. The program is based on a promissory note system, with monies to be paid back to the fund with interest. The program requires no other security other than the word of the borrower.

The purpose of the program is to seek the interest of the youth in the state, aid in agricultural education efforts, and provide a dedicated funding program that will assist in sustaining the future of New Jersey agriculture.

For more information:

Lynn Mathews, (609) 292-2888,

Dairy of Distinction
A distinctive signage program designed to promote stewardship of dairy farm operations in New Jersey. These are the best-kept dairy farms of the state. The sign recognizes the farm as a 'Dairy of Distinction' for its hard work and dedication to the farm industry in general and the extra time to make the required effort to make their farm look special.

All active dairy farms in New Jersey are eligible to apply for the award. Farm judging takes place in mid summer and is based on several criteria including clean and attractive buildings, neat landscapes, ditches, roads, lanes and well-maintained fences.

The award is based on the concept that these attractive farms will enhance consumer confidence in the wholesomeness of milk, stimulate milk sales and encourage public support for the agriculture industry.

Dan Wunderlich, (609) 292-6382, 
Tom Beaver, Director, (609) 292-5536,

Fertilizer Certification and Testing

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture provides field inspection, sampling and laboratory analysis of animal feed, fertilizers and liming material sold in New Jersey as well as seed certification and control to guard against mislabeled or substandard products in an effort to ensure the integrity of these products in the marketplace.

Animal feed, fertilizer and liming material label or registration violations found during field inspections and analyses result in those items being removed from sale and, in some cases, fines levied against manufacturers and refunds to consumers.

Farmers who wish to have official samples tested must contact the Department at least 24 hours prior to delivery of the product. They may call or e-mail Janet Stafford at (609) 984-8421 or They also may fax at (609) 984-2508.

Animal Waste Management

In order to ensure that manure from livestock farms is properly managed and to provide protections for New Jersey livestock farmers, the Department of Agriculture is in the process of developing criteria and standards for the management of animal waste on farms.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture understands that livestock farmers will need technical assistance to help them develop animal waste management plans. Therefore, we are coordinating our conservation assistance efforts with the ongoing work of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and are looking to provide additional technical assistance staff in the field.

Farmers who already have a conservation plan that includes manure management are well on their way toward compliance with the proposed rule.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is planning to hold outreach meetings to discuss the proposed standards and how those standards would be implemented. Once the standards are developed, workshops with Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rutgers Cooperative Extension and others will be held to provide hands-on assistance to farmers.

Water Quality Concerns
Conservation plans, including animal waste management plans, identify effective strategies to reduce non-point source pollution from farms and protect the quality of New Jersey’s waterways.

Nutrient Management 
The proper management of nutrients reduce the amount of nutrients available for transport from the field. Excess nutrients are lost with surface runoff and by leaching through the soil into ground water. A farm conservation plan can include a strategy for addressing nutrient input needs on the farm.

Monique Purcell, (609) 292-5532, 

CNMP Watch Web Site
The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service have developed a website for nutrient management planning information. CNMP Watch utilizes the web to create an invaluable linkage to every phase of nutrient management planning.

Business Management Planning

Understanding risks is an important aspect to help dairy producers make good management choices in situations where adversity and loss are possibilities. Risk management involves choosing among alternatives to reduce the effects of risk. It typically requires the evaluation of tradeoffs between alternative courses of action.

Production -- variations in animal production, crop yields, and input use due to weather, diseases and pests.

Marketing -- variations in prices recieved and/or quantities that can be marketed.

Finance -- the inability to pay bills when due, not having enough money to continue farming, and the chance of bankruptcy.

Legal and Environment -- the possibility of lawsuits by other businesses or individuals and changes in government regulations for pollution and other farm practices.

Human Resources-- the threat that owners, family, and employees will not be available for managing or working on the farm.

The Garden State Dairy Alliance team members involved in this program are available to assist dairy farmers in Business Management Planning.

David Lee, (856) 769-0090, 

Regulatory Services

One of the most valuable service that the New Jersey Department of Agriculture offers producers, are the numerous regulatory functions that the state performs to help keep the state’s food and livestock monitored and free of disease.

Disease Surveillance
New Jersey is a Tuberculosis (TB) and Brucellosis-free state. However, these two diseases of regulatory importance must be monitored in case of its reemergence. Brucellosis is monitored by quarterly “milk ring” tests done in our lab; Tuberculosis is monitored by New Jersey Department of Agriculture veterinarians -- or accredited private practitioners -- performing a “Comparative Cervical” test on any and all TB-suspect cows. TB and Brucellosis also are reportable to our office. There also is a list of other reportable diseases we will respond to and investigate, should we get these calls. A recent example is Vesicular Stomatitis, a viral disease of cloven-hoofed stock, of which there is a current outbreak of in Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. New Jersey Department of Agriculture is responsible for approving or rejecting cattle health certificates of imported animals to NJ, and making sure diseased animals are not imported into the state, thereby jeopardizing the health of New Jersey cattle.

  • BSE Surveillance – New Jersey is participating in a national survey of cattle brains from animals older than 20 months of age that have died from various causes.

New Jersey Department of Agriculture authorizes movement of livestock and poultry into and out of New Jersey. Appropriate tests of livestock moving must be performed and approved by the State prior to movement.

Food Safety
Drug Residue Investigations – New Jersey Department of Agriculture will inspect any dairy farm that has been identified by the Food and Drug Administration as having a drug residue found in meat tissues. Fortunately, this is not very common in New Jersey dairies.

Milk Producer Security

  • Licensing and Auditing
    The Division of Marketing and Development licenses over 300 milk dealers and over 10,000 stores. Generally, anyone that purchases, handles, sells or bargains for the purchase or sale of milk must be licensed. Milk Dealers Licenses are issued to processors, distributors, dealers and sub-dealers and cooperative associations. Store licenses are issued to retail outlets that deliver the fluid products to the consuming public.

    The Division conducts audits of licensed dealers to ensure that farmers are paid promptly and that adequate security is provided, verifies reports, and ensures compliance with New Jersey State laws and regulations pertaining to the purchase, distribution, and sale of milk

  • Bonding of Dealers
    Milk dealers that purchase milk directly from dairy farmers or cooperatives are required to file with the Secretary of Agriculture sufficient security to ensure farmers are paid. A milk dealer must post enough surety to cover 1.5 times their highest month's purchases from the previous years purchases. This surety can be in the form of bonds, letters of credit, or Certificates of Deposit.

    This is done for the benefit of the dairy farmers; the Secretary of Agriculture administers these funds and pays dairy farmers in the event that a dealer defaults on payment of milk received by them.

  • Market Channel Controls
    Through the efforts of the milk control act and under the direction of the Secretary of Agriculture the Division of Marketing and Development assures through established controls, that a constant flow of milk is maintained from the producer to the consumer.

Anne Marie Ference, (609) 777-0098,
Dan Wunderlich, (609) 292-6382,

Technical Assistance and Enrollment

All participating agencies involved in this program provide assistance to farmers to implement some or all components described. Assistance is provided through the use of fact sheets, brochures, farm assessments and demonstrations, workshops, meetings as well as individual consultation.

Dan Wunderlich, Coordinator Dairy programs and Enforcement, New Jersey Department of Agriculture
(609) 292-6382 

David Lee, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Salem County
(856) 769-0090 

Dr. Manoel Tamassia, DVM, Director Division of Animal Health, New Jersey Department of Agriculture
(609) 671-6400  

Sebastian Reist, DVM, Veterinarian, New Jersey Department of Agriculture
(609) 671-6400 

Monique Purcell, Director, Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources, New Jersey Department of Agriculture
(609) 292-5532 

Tom Beaver, Director, Division of Marketing and Development, New Jersey Department of Agriculture

Anne Marie Ference, Executive Assistant, Division of Marketing and Development, New Jersey Department of Agriculture
(609) 777-0098