Revised:  07/28/2010

Press Release











Contact: Tiffany J Cody
Public Relations Specialist
Rutgers Equine Science Center




96,000 Acres of Working Horse Farms Help Keep the ‘Garden’ in the Garden State

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (April 4, 2007) – The New Jersey equine industry – valued at more than $3.5 billion – generates $1.1 billion annually in positive impact on the New Jersey economy, according to a new study released by the Rutgers Equine Science Center.

Of the total impact, $647 million is generated by horse and horse farm owners, including almost $477 million of direct expenditures on such items as feed, forage, services, supplies, fees, trucks, trailers, other equipment, maintenance and taxes, and an additional $170 million “ripple effect” that is produced by those expenditures. The $3.5 billion worth of the industry includes the value of the horses and the land and buildings on and in which they are housed.

Of the 176,000 acres of agricultural land occupied by the 7,200 equine operations in the state, 96,000 acres are directly related to equine activities and are home to 42,500 horses. In comparison, estimates put the total “agricultural working landscape” (actively productive farms) in New Jersey at 790,000 acres, meaning that horses and other equine animals are housed on more than one-fifth of the farmland in the state.

Of the 42,500 equine animals, 12,500 (nearly 30 percent) are in racing-related activities. These include 8,200 Standardbreds and 4,300 Thoroughbreds that are either actively racing or are racing breeding stock and current foals and yearlings. In addition, the economic impact of New Jersey’s racing venues (The Meadowlands, Freehold Raceway, Monmouth Park Racetrack and Atlantic City Race Course), which were surveyed separately, is pegged at an additional $502 million annually. The value of racetrack land and buildings was not included in the study.

“Far from an industry that some outsiders felt was dying, these numbers verify that the equine industry is very much alive and well,” said Dr. Karyn Malinowski, director of the Equine Science Center. “However, it also suggests two very important points: the racing subset is an economic driver for the equine industry and – since it is no secret racing is facing tough competition from neighboring states that have added gaming operations to their racing venues – any further erosion of racing in New Jersey could have disastrous consequences for the state’s economy and the rest of the equine industry.”

The study, titled “New Jersey Equine Industry, 2007: Its Impact on the Economy, Agriculture and Open Space,” is based on an extensive survey of the equine industry conducted over the past year by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, a unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, combined with economic analysis and reporting by statisticians and economists affiliated with the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, part of Rutgers’ School of Biological and Environmental Sciences; and the Food Policy Institute, a unit of Rutgers’ New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.

The study was led by the Equine Science Center, also a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, and funded in part by New Jersey Strategic Initiative grants. Numerous organizations and individuals supported and participated in the study, including the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Equine Advisory Board and Sire Stakes Program; the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey; and the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association of New Jersey.

The study commenced last year with a survey mailed to nearly 10,000 horse and horse farm owners. Some 3,400 surveys were returned, and more than 2,000 were included in the data analysis. In addition, the National Agricultural Statistics Service employed its time-honored technique of site visits to 103 square-mile parcels distributed throughout the state to verify survey responses and locate equine operations that possibly had not responded to the mailed survey. The site visit information is included in the analysis.

Other topline findings of the study are as follows:
  • More than half (59 percent) of the equine operations house five or fewer equine animals. Eleven percent house more than 20.

  • A remarkable number of today’s horse farms previously were other types of agricultural operations. For example, 24 percent used to be cattle, dairy, poultry or other livestock facilities; 13 percent were in field crops, fruits or vegetables; and 18 percent were used for other traditional agricultural activities.

  • Almost 13,000 New Jersey jobs are generated by the horse industry.

    • 5,670 direct jobs on equine farms and operations

    • 2,080 direct jobs at New Jersey racetracks

    • 5,220 additional employment in related industries

“These topline results are just the beginning for this study,” said Dr. Malinowski. “For starters, we will produce several detailed reports from the survey data, and soon we will have a very good estimate of additional acreage devoted to forage, straw and other products. We also hope to poll New Jersey residents to get a sense of their attitudes and feelings about horses, horse farms and the industry in general.

"And, for sure, the Equine Science Center will be working with municipalities, counties, the legislature, horse groups and others to educate them about the importance of the equine industry to the New Jersey economy, the preservation of open space and the impact on traditional agriculture. That was our mission in initiating this study, and I believe these preliminary findings are an excellent first step,” she concluded.

In addition to Dr. Malinowski, Rutgers faculty and staff involved in the study include Dr. Paul Gottlieb, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES); Brian Schilling, Rutgers Food Policy Institute and NJAES; Kevin Sullivan, NJAES; and Diana Orban Brown, Equine Science Center and NJAES.

Technical advisors were Dr. Sarah Ralston, Department of Animal Sciences at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences; and Dr. Carey Williams, Dr. Joseph Heckman, Donna Foulk, and Bob Mickel, all of Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the NJAES. The National Agricultural Statistics Service team was headed by Troy Joshua, director of the New Jersey Field Office.



Contact: Tiffany J Cody
Public Relations Specialist
Rutgers Equine Science Center





New Study Shows Significant Impact on Open Space,

Traditional Agriculture and the Economy of the State



“In the race to keep the green in the Garden State, the New Jersey equine community is more than doing its share – and at no cost to the taxpayers!”


According to Karyn Malinowski, director of the Rutgers Equine Science Center, this is one conclusion, among many, that may be drawn from a newly released report on the impact of the equine industry on New Jersey’s economy, on traditional agriculture, and on the preservation of open space.


The report – “The New Jersey Equine Industry, 2007” – is the result of eighteen months of work led by the Equine Science Center, involving government agencies on the federal and state level and several equine-related organizations and private individuals. It is based on the first comprehensive study of the state horse industry since 1996 and comes at a time when interest in the horse industry and open space preservation is intense, says Malinowski.


According to the report, 142,000 acres of farmland directly support horses and equine activities. That’s nearly equivalent to the land areas of Cape May, Mercer, Camden and Bergen counties, and considerably larger than Essex, Union, Hudson and Passaic counties.


Horse and horse-related operations, dubbed “working agricultural landscape,” compare favorably to other types of open space, such as federal recreation areas (109,700 acres), federal forest and wildlife acres (112,400), state and local land trust acres (213,000) and overall Green Acres land (600,000). Says Malinowski, “The best part is that these equine and equine-related acres not only cost taxpayers nothing to support, but their activities actually generate an estimated $160 million annually in federal, state and local taxes. This is a win-win for the people of New Jersey.”


The study shows that the equine industry has a strong positive impact on the economy as well. It generates an impact of $1.1 billion annually and nearly 13,000 jobs. The top expenditures by equine operations and owners are equipment purchases and depreciation ($40 million), capital improvements ($34 million), horse health costs ($32 million), training fees ($31 million), boarding ($30 million), feed and supplements ($23 million), and hay and forage ($22 million).


There are 42,500 equine animals located on 7,200 operations in the state, and they are found in every county. Hunterdon County, with 1,100 operations, and Monmouth County, with 960, are the leading horse communities, followed by Burlington, Sussex, Salem and Warren counties.


Horse farms are springing up where other forms of agriculture once operated. For example, 24 percent of current horse operations used to be cattle, dairy or poultry farms, and 11 percent once grew field crops. Two percent were in vegetables and fruit, and 18 percent once engaged in other traditional agriculture.


“In terms of the ‘big picture,’” says Malinowski, “the horse industry is comparable to such other widely recognized sectors as golf courses, landscaping, biotechnology, marine fisheries and aquaculture and many others.”


Even beyond dollars and cents, the horse industry is valued for its impact on the quality of life of New Jersey residents. “People throughout the state know and appreciate the role of horses in sport, recreation, youth development, therapy for the handicapped and rehabilitation of adults and children who are troubled or have gotten into trouble,” Malinowski concludes.


“The New Jersey Equine Industry, 2007” is based on a study conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and economic analysis conducted by Rutgers faculty and staff.


Sponsors of the study included the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and its Equine Advisory Board and Sire Stakes units, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey, the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association of New Jersey, and several private individuals.


A downloadable copy of the study report appears on the Equine Science Center website at





The New Jersey Equine Industry, 2007 - Report


Economic Impact Study - Press Release PDF


Economic Impact Study - Presentation


Economic Impact Study - Fast Facts


Economic Impact Study Video


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© 2009 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Items may be reprinted with permission from the
Director of the Equine Science Center:

The Equine Science Center is a unit of
Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.