Outside of the equine community, New Jersey may not be best known for its horses. But there’s a reason the horse is New Jersey’s state animal. There are 222,000 acres in the Garden State devoted to the horse industry — 176,000 acres in equine operations (breeding, boarding, racing) and another 46,000 acres used for growing hay and feed. According to Karyn Malinowski, director of the Rutgers Equine Science Center, that’s about one quarter of the acreage devoted to agriculture in the state.
Indeed, New Jersey has five horses per square mile — a higher density than any other state in the country. Malinowski notes that the industry is worth about $4 billion and generates $1.1 billion in revenues each year via 7,200 equine operations and provides 13,000 jobs. “Agriculturally, horses are a critical business for New Jersey,” says Malinowski, who noted one racehorse can sell for $100,000.
New Jersey’s racing industry, Malinowski says, is directly related to horse breeding and is responsible for 57,000 acres of horse farms. If the racing industry should leave the state, Malinowski says “that’s 57,000 acres lost to developers.”