Readington, NJ - The Readington River Buffalo Farm, located in Readington, New Jersey, is home to nearly 60 American Bison. These majestic animals spend their days roaming free on lush, natural pastures where they eat nutrient-dense grasses that produce healthy red meat. This unique farm is a landmark throughout the state and after years of dedication to environmental conservation, the Readington River Farm was awarded the River Friendly Farm Certification on May 2, 2019.
The River Friendly Farm Certification recognizes farms that protect shared natural resources through responsible land management. The program is voluntary, and farms are eligible to be designated as River Friendly when they have demonstrated a commitment to soil health, clean water, and wildlife habitat.
In 1998, when Erick Doyle and his father took over management of the farm, areas of the pastures were in rough condition. Gullies over six feet deep dissected the pastures carrying away valuable topsoil and nutrients, crops had trouble growing on the compacted soil, and the surrounding streams would fill with sediment after heavy rains. The Doyles knew they would need a creative approach to be successful on this land.
The solution, farming Bison! Bison’s grazing patterns naturally regenerate soil health. The lush grasses, clovers, and other plants within the pastures hold onto valuable nutrients in the manure and soil to prevent them from escaping into local streams and rivers. The natural grazing, trampling and recovery patterns that occur as the bison feast on the forage helps to build soil, maintain biological diversity and deepen plant roots, which are a key element in permanent carbon sequestration in the soil.
Readington River Farm partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and non-profits like North Jersey Resource Conservation & Development (NJRCD) and NJ Audubon to implement conservation practices to stop erosion, treat runoff with a vegetated treatment area, and improve habitat. “I cannot imagine the next time when I won’t be seeking or working on contact with NRCS,” said Doyle. “Because each one the practices we incorporate makes the farm that much more beautiful, efficient and desirable to visit.”
The Doyle family has worked hard to be stewards of the land and water resources on their farm for nearly twenty years. If you are interested in seeing the buffalo and trying their grass-fed products, you can visit the farm stand open year-round on Saturdays, and Sundays (937 County Road 523, Flemington, New Jersey). The Doyle family hosts many family-friendly events throughout the year to give the public an opportunity to watch and learn about Bison and sustainable agriculture. Follow them on Facebook @ReadingtonRiverBC to learn more.
For more information on the River Friendly Farm Certification, visit www.riverfriendlyfarms.org and www.northjerseyrcd.org. North Jersey RC&D is a nonprofit dedicated to community needs through conservation.