Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet FS1047  |  December 2013

New Jersey Livestock Farmer Survey: Is My Farm Environmentally Friendly?

  • Michael Westendorf, Extension Specialist in Livestock and Dairy

Livestock owners need to be aware of their effect on our environment and natural resources. Regardless of the kind of livestock you have, proper management of animal and land resources are important to limit potential impact on natural resources. Take this quiz to determine how eco-friendly your livestock operation is.

A. Grazing and Pasture Management

1.

Are your animals fenced at least 30 feet from ALL sensitive water features such as: well heads, creeks, streams, lakes, ponds, and wetlands?

The area between the animals and water is called a buffer strip. Steeper slopes need wider strips and all buffer or filter strips should have permanent vegetative cover. Livestock should also be kept off septic systems to prevent compaction and damage to the system.

2.

Is your buffer strip maintained in good vegetative cover like tall grass, not weeds?

Trees and shrubs along surface water are encouraged. If you have no water on or within 100 feet of property lines select "yes".

3.

Do you use fences, crossings, and limited access points to control animal access to sensitive waters? If you have no water on or within 100 feet of property lines select yes.

4.

Do you drag or harrow manure in your permanent pastures?

5.

Do you allow pasture grasses to regrow to at least 6" before regrazing?

B. Manure Storage

6.

Is your animal manure stored at least 100 feet from sensitive water features?

7.

Is the manure stored on a concrete pad or compact clay, or removed and disposed regularly (monthly)?

8.

Is your manure storage either covered, or does it have a grassed buffer around it?

9.

Do you spread or haul your manure away from your farm on a regular basis?

C. Nutrient Management

10.

Do you soil test every three years?

11.

Is manure applied to soils to prevent phosphorus levels from getting too high (e.g., soil tests results are within Rutgers University guidelines)? If you don't spread manure, select "yes."

12.

Do you follow a formal written manure management plan?

13.

Is manure spread on relatively flat land (<8% slope), AND at least 100 feet from sensitive waters?

14.

Is manure spread only during the growing season and not on frozen soils?

D. Clean Water

15.

Is clean water from the roof or surrounding area directed away from the manure storage, animal lots, and bare ground?

16.

Is storm water from your property managed so it is not contaminated by manure and is it allowed to infiltrate into the soil? This helps recharge our ground water.

E. Erosion Control

17.

Are gullies on your property stabilized and soil erosion controlled? If no gullies select "yes". Someone could have no gullies but still have bad sil erosion.

18.

Is the amount of bare soil on the property minimized, possibly through pasture seeding and management?

19.

Is the runoff from bare and paved areas (e.g., arenas, driveways and parking lots) filtered through a vegetative buffer strip?

20.

Check all that are used:

F. Feed Management

21.

Do you manage milk house waste, silage waste, and excess or contaminated feed or hay disposals to prevent contact with stormwater and/or other water sensitive areas?

22.

Do you have feed bunks, mangers, hay feeders and other feeding areas that minimize feed contact with the ground.

23.

Do you reduce phosphorous level in the diet to minimize excretion of phosphorous?

24.

Do you monitor the feed intake of your animals to prevent over consumption and minimize waste?

25.

Do you balance diets to minimize overfeeding nutrients?

26.

What is the best description of how you feed your animals? (Check only two)

NJ Animal Waste Requirements


The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has approved an Animal Waste Management Rule, requiring all livestock owners to proactively address and manage non-point source pollution originating from livestock operations. This includes those farms housing horses, dairy cows, cattle, swine, goats, sheep, poultry and all other domesticated species considered farm animals.

The rule was written to prevent water and other environmental pollution. All livestock farmers are required to:
  1. Report all reportable diseases to the State Veterinarian.
  2. Implement a bio-security protocol.
  3. Store manure at least 100 feet away from waters of the state.
  4. Control access of animals in confined areas to waters of the state.
  5. Apply animal manures according to accepted Best Management Practices.
All farms with more than seven animal units (1 unit = 1000 pounds) are legally required to implement an animal waste management plan. For more information please see the resources at njaes.rutgers.edu/animal-waste-management/.

Rutgers Cooperative Extension is available to assist farm owners and managers with questions related to animal waste management. Please contact your local Extension agent; he/she will be able to assist you and refer you to needed resources.

Reference and adapted from:


Gilkerson, B. 2006. Is my barn eco-friendly? University of Minnesota Extension Service, Hennepin County.
extension.umn.edu/Agriculture/horse/care/is-my-barn-eco-friendly/.


  1. Rutgers
  2. Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  3. School of Environmental and Biological Sciences
Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station