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Public question would aid equine industry

Public Question No. 1 on the Nov. 8 ballot may not be the solution to our failing horse industry, but what is?

One aspect of life in Monmouth County that I appreciate most is the scenic vistas.  Colts Neck, Holmdel, Millstone Township and Upper Freehold Township comprise some of my favorites and that is largely because of the bucolic backdrop of their horse farms.

Thoroughbred and Standardbred breeding farms play a significant role, historically and presently, to our economy and to our quality of life. The “for sale” signs posted on many of the remaining horse farms throughout the county has caused me to reflect on who will buy these farms and how will the area change if these horse farms are no longer part of our landscape?

It is surprising to me that very little attention has been placed on the fact that a portion of the funds from Public Question No. 1, if passed, would go to programs designed to aid and encourage the equine industries in New Jersey.

You have likely already received one of the postcards about Public Question No. 1, compelling you to vote no on “Trenton’s Bad Bet.” What you may not realize is that deep within the complicated language of the question is the dedication of funding for the struggling horse racing industry.

I am not advocating for or against the ballot question, but as a representative of the county’s only nonprofit land trust whose mission is preserve land and protect open spaces including farms, I would be remiss in failing to mention the importance of protecting the thousands of acres devoted to horses in Monmouth County.

The ailing equine industry, already on life support, requires significant aid. That aid either comes from the passage of Public Question No. 1 or another yet to be determined source.  Please consider the options when casting your vote on Nov. 8.

William D. Kastning
Executive Director
Monmouth Conservation Foundation
Middletown

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