To comply with the European Union’s radical climate laws, the Dutch government of World Economic Forum acolyte Mark Rutte will force up to 3,000 farms to shut down for good.
Farmers will be made an offer on their farms, which the government claims is “well over” market value.
According to nitrogen minister Christianne van der Wal, the government purchase will be compulsory.
“There is no better offer coming,” claimed van der Wal.
Recent EU nature preservation rules require member states to reduce emissions across sectors of the economy.
As one of Europe’s most prominent farming nations, half of the Netherlands’ emissions come from agricultural activity.
Rutte has warned that those who refuse to comply could face government force.
When the Dutch government announced a nitrogen fertilizer reduction mandate, the country saw nationwide protests from farmers.
Former agricultural minister resigned from his position as a result of the movement.
The Dutch farmer protests received international attention, with protests popping up in Canada in support of the uprising.
Rutte’s government policies have many observers concerned about the direction he is taking the country.
Earlier this month, the country’s finance minister Sigrid Kaag proposed a law to allow banks to spy on transactions of citizens which totaled more than €100.
Privacy watchdog Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens called the bill an unprecedented “surveillance of the Dutch” people.
https://thecountersignal.com/netherland ... 000-farms/
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Why Dutch farmers are protesting over emissions cuts
Hay bales in flames, manure dumped on highways, blockades at supermarket distribution centres and demonstrations on politicians' doorsteps.
Dutch farmers have been generating global headlines with protests described by Prime Minister Mark Rutte as "wilfully endangering others, damaging our infrastructure and threatening people who help with the clean-up".
This proud farming nation is under immense pressure to make radical changes to cut harmful emissions, and some farmers fear their livelihoods will be obliterated.
"It's in our blood, I want to do this, and if we have to adapt to new situations, I want to, but we have to be fair, it takes time - give me a chance," says Geertjan Kloosterboer, a third-generation dairy farmer.
We are standing in his recently built barn, surrounded by red and white cows, as his eldest son sweeps past us on a small digger.
I ask if Geertjan sees a future for his children in farming.
"I don't know if that's what they want. When we talk about farming it's just stress. But I want them to have a choice, not for the government to make that choice for them."
Dutch government proposals for tackling nitrogen emissions indicate a radical cut in livestock - they estimate 11,200 farms will have to close and another 17,600 farmers will have to significantly reduce their livestock.
Other proposals include a reduction in intensive farming and the conversion to sustainable "green farms".
As such, the relocation or buyout of farmers is almost inevitable, but forced buyouts are a scenario many hope to avoid.
The cabinet has allocated €25bn (£20bn) to slicing nitrogen emissions within the farming industry by 2030, and the targets for specific areas and provinces have been laid out in a colour-coded map.
By July 2022 the provincial governments must submit their ideas for hitting those goals - but a handful of provinces have hinted they will not play ball.
'We need insects'
Biodiversity is under threat. Native species are disappearing more rapidly here than elsewhere in Europe, according to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.
Rudi Buis, a representative from the ministry of agriculture, tells me the stakes are high: "It's necessary to improve the nature, for our health, for clean air, water, soil and also for the agriculture because we need biodiversity. We need insects for our crops... if we want some economic activity in the future, we also have to improve our nature."
In May 2019, the Council of State ruled the government's strategy for reducing excess nitrogen breached EU directives on preserving vulnerable habitats.
The judgment meant every activity that led to nitrogen being emitted, from building new homes to farming, required a permit.
Pinning hopes on technology
Agriculture is accountable for nearly half of Dutch nitrogen emissions.
Ammonia (nitrogen and hydrogen, or NH3) comes from manure mixed with urine, and when this washes away into ditches, rivers and the sea, it can be harmful to nature.
Nitrogen oxides (nitrogen and oxygen, NOx) are mainly produced when fossil fuels are burned - traffic, aviation, shipping and industry all contribute.
Plans are also afoot to reduce pollution around Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, the port of Rotterdam, on roads and in households.
Meanwhile, many are pinning their hopes on technological solutions.
Already, air scrubbers and excrement-sweeping robots operate in barns, while sloping floors are encouraged to reduce contact between the manure and urine - but in most cases they still meet in the cellar.
Diluting manure with water or acidifying it, leaving cows out to pasture more and giving them lower protein feed can also help to reduce harmful gasses.
But this new technology and these practices alone are unlikely to achieve the ambitious environmental goals.
'I'm not a fire-starter'
The Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB) is surging in the polls.
On a visit to a farm near the Dutch city of Deventer, party leader Caroline van der Plas expressed concern about the increasingly toxic nature of the debate.
She warned that small groups of frustrated farmers were being radicalised on social media, in Telegram groups and in chat rooms manipulated by far-right politicians who saw the potential to jump on the tractor protests to plough their own agendas.
"I understand their anger but I am not a fire-starter... and let's be real, the country is not exploding, it's not like there will be a civil war in the next months, but the government has to start talking to the farmers, not just talking but listening and really hearing them or things will get worse."
Despite this, Ms Van der Plas says her party will not sit down with government negotiators: "We want the whole nitrogen policy and plans that are on the table right now put on hold and to look for other solutions.
"I said in the [parliamentary] debates, be careful what you wish for because when the farmers are gone, they are not going to come back. If we depend on imports - you see it with gas from Russia - we have a big problem."
Natasja Oerlemans, head of food and agriculture at WWF Netherlands, believes farmers have the potential to be part of the solution.
She says while some farmers might be forced to leave the industry, others could adapt and provide different services in a changing climate.
"Storing water when there's too much rain - in a densely populated country like the Netherlands, this can provide huge opportunities for farmers to gain extra income and work in the future."
But, Ms Oerlemans warns, the Netherlands is facing a painful period of uncertainly and unrest, describing the agricultural system as "broken".
She says for years the government has failed to act on scientific data, meaning drastic measures are now needed to tackle the issue. The farming industry's focus on increasing livestock productivity, she adds, has had a detrimental impact on the ecosystem.
"My lesson would be don't follow the pathway that the Dutch agricultural system has followed over the past decades, because that's a dead end."
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Unpacking the 2022 Dutch Farmers Protests
August 31, 2022
"Scratching the surface: the measures & their controversy
The policy in question was introduced in 2021, which calls for a steep reduction to nitrogen emissions in Natura 2000 sites—40% by 2025, 50% by 2030, and 74% by 2035 (Official Gazette of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, 2021; Pole, 2022). This policy included a stipulation that the government must produce a plan for reducing nitrogen emissions in the designated areas within two years, prompting the government and provincial governments to begin looking into the most effective methods of nitrogen reduction (Official Gazette of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, 2021, p.3). On June 10th 2022, the government presented their plan to the country, sparking outrage at the grave measures they plan on employing.
The government proposal consists of a targeted reduction of ammonia (NH3) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the agricultural industry (Rijksoverheid, 2022; Van der Wal-Zeggelink, 2022). Reductions to emissions vary from 12–70%, and within Natura 2000 areas they can reach upwards of 95% (Van der Hoek, 2022; Van der Wal-Zeggelink, 2022). To achieve this, the current livestock number will need to be reduced by 30%, and farmers will have to radically “modernise” their techniques or accept a buy-out by the government (Boztas, 2021; Rijksoverheid, 2022; Sterling & Perrett, 2022). The government has budgeted €7.5 billion for this buy-out scheme, yet even this is not projected to be enough according to some scientists like Alfons Beldman, who claim that the sum may not be sufficient to buy out even a couple thousand of the 20,000 existing farms in the country (Nijland & Janssen, 2022; Van der Hoek, 2022)."
https://esthinktank.com/2022/08/31/unpa ... -protests/
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How the Netherlands Has Become the World's Second Largest Food Exporter
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