Farmers promise to ‘escalate’ protests against government shutdown orders

Farmers in the Netherlands reduced nitrogen pollution by nearly 70% through a voluntary system. But the government says that is not enough and is demanding that they cut pollution by another 50% by 2030.

By the Dutch government’s own estimates, 11,200 farms out of the roughly 35,000 dedicated to dairy and livestock would have to close under its policies; 17,600 farmers would have to reduce livestock; and total livestock would need to be reduced by one-half to one-third. The Dutch government has demanded that animal farming stop entirely in many places. Of the over $25.7 billion the government has set aside to reduce pollution, just $1 billion is for technological innovation, with most of the rest for buying out farmers.

This effort has sparked a fierce backlash among Dutch farmers, who argue that the government seems more interested in reducing animal agriculture than in finding solutions that protect the food supply and their livelihoods.

“Why would you buy out farmers or reduce livestock when you have the possibility to invest in innovation?” asked Caroline van der Plas, the founder and sole Member of Parliament for the Farmer-Citizen Movement party, or BBB in Dutch. “The car industry innovated for the past 40 years. There aren’t fewer cars and the cars we have are cleaner. We even have electrical cars. That’s what I think is so crazy. Why don’t we treat the farmers just like the car industry? Give them time to develop solutions or innovate? We can produce food in a much more efficient and cleaner way if we do that. And it’s much cheaper also then by buying out farmers.”

Farmer protests in the Netherlands come at a time of heightened global food insecurity created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a major wheat exporter.- READ MORE

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