The New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) is partnering with Rutgers University, Office of Research Analytics, and the New Jersey Compost Council (NJCC) to develop the New Jersey Manure Link website. The intent of the website is to connect livestock farms (manure generators) and composters with farmers seeking these resources to provide an alternative to purchasing fertilizer.
The NJDA’s Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources received a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service to fund the creation of the New Jersey Manure Link project which hopes to be “where to find what feeds your field” for New Jersey farmers.
“We believe this website will be a valuable resource for farmers and composters,” New Jersey Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Joe Atchison said. “The ability to provide a clearer pathway to make connections between these operations will benefit all involved.”
The New Jersey Manure Link website is expected to launch in March 2024, designed and hosted by Rutgers University, Office of Research Analytics. It will list manure and compost availability by geographic location within New Jersey. It will also let those seeking manure or compost to sign up to be notified when the resource they are looking for becomes available within the designated radius they are seeking. The project will give the opportunity for smaller farms with limited land capacity a way to distribute their manure to composters and farmers who can use it to benefit their operations.
The NJCC will provide outreach and educational components that will include two hands-on composting field days and resources for the website. The field days will be scheduled for livestock farmers and composters, as well as producers across all agricultural sectors including urban farming to demonstrate the importance of composting, nutrient management, and how to effectively incorporate organic materials into farming practices.
The goals of New Jersey Manure Link include recycling valuable nutrients, generating accessibility to organic materials, reducing animal waste excess, and protecting waterways adjacent to livestock farmland.
The project will allow urban farmers to gain access to raw feedstocks as well as finished compost. The project also falls within the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Global Warming Response Act 80 x 50 Report from 2020, which identifies the need for the reduction, recycling, and reuse of agricultural organic waste materials as well as increased education and adoption of composting practices.