Feb 03, 2023 at 4:34 PMUpdate: 2 minutes ago
The government’s package of requirements for agriculture must be weakened, otherwise there will be no agricultural agreement. This is demanded by various interest groups of dairy farmers. They think the conditions imposed on farmers are too high, making investments impossible in their opinion.
For the farmers’ organisations, the loss of agricultural land and the space they have to fertilize grassland are the biggest bottlenecks.
The Dutch Dairy Trade Union (NMV), LTO Dairy Farming, Agractie and the Dutch Dairymen Board, among others, believe that the government should remove those blockages before further talks can take place.
They have done their own analysis and it shows that large dairy farms are only getting bigger. “Traditional family businesses will be the victims and we think that is undesirable,” says NVM chairman Henk Bleker.
The so-called assessment framework that the government placed with the sector produces “too many restrictions”, the organizations write in their analysis.
For example, there is a “stack of plans” leading to a reduction in the area for dairy farming of 236,000 hectares. According to the organizations, this is more than a fifth of the total. The available space for each company is also reduced by 5 percent.
They warn that domestic milk production will fall by more than a third as a result. And that also has consequences for industry and knowledge and research institutions, they claim. “The global relevance of the dairy chain is largely disappearing.”
The dairy organizations fear that only large farmers can survive. Photo: Getty Images
‘Land more expensive and government wants more land per cow’
There will also be a scarcity of land, making land more expensive, while the government also wants more land per cow. According to the farmers, the targets are therefore not attainable.
The farmers also complain about the requirements regarding the use of artificial fertilizers and the abolition of the so-called derogation rules by the European Union. As a result, farmers here were allowed to use more manure than in other countries. Its abolition costs farmers a lot of money.
They want the government to focus on the goal that needs to be achieved and not on the means that need to be used to achieve it. Less strict rules may then apply to various farms, because the environmental problems and pollution of groundwater are not so great there.
Farmers want to know where they stand between now and 2040
Agreements must be laid down in the agricultural agreement about what the agricultural sector will look like in 2040. In this way, the rules for farmers do not change every time and they know where they stand.
The agreement should ultimately lead to lower nitrogen emissions and better water quality. In addition, farmers must continue to earn a good income and be able to continue to invest in their business.
Dairy farmers are not the only party in the negotiations on an agricultural agreement. The arable farming and horticultural sectors, among others, are involved. Poultry and pig farmers are also at the table, as are nature organisations.
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