EU approves €1.47b plan to buy out Dutch farms

Eric Barker, 24/05/2023

Dutch farmers are again taking to the streets to protest plans to shut down up to 3,000 farms.

THE European Union has approved The Netherlands’ plan to buy out thousands of farmers in a bid to halve the country’s nitrogen emissions by 2030.

Almost AU$2.3b, €1.47b, has been set aside for the plan, which will take the form of direct grants to compensate up to 100 percent of the losses incurred by farmers who decide to close, in particular relating to the loss of production capacity and of production rights. The site has to have certain minimum levels of nitrogen deposition load per year.

The plan was last year expected to close up to 3000 farms.

In a press release, the EU said The Netherlands’ plans supported its Green Deal and stood have a positive impact on the environment.

“The €1.47 billion Dutch schemes we approved today will facilitate the voluntary closure of livestock farming sites with substantive nitrogen deposition on nature conservation areas,” said Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s executive vice-president in charge of competition policy

“The schemes will improve the environment conditions in those areas and will promote a more sustainable and environmentally friendly production in the livestock sector, without unduly distorting competition.”

Dutch farmers have been strongly opposed to the nitrogen legislation, taking to the streets in the masses and blocking supermarket distribution centres with tractors.

The protests were partly credited for the success of the pro-farmer BBB party, otherwise known as Farmer Citizen Movement, which managed to take the majority of seats in the Dutch provincial elections earlier this year – and now has a big say in the senate.

A recent report from Al Jazeera said the party supported the compensation of farmers who want to leave, but it was firmly against the nitrogen measures.

“It is like they are criminals, it is like they are doing something bad when they produce food,” BBB leader and former agriculture journalist Caroline van der Plas told the television report.

BBB campaigned on fighting against the nitrogen legislation and is expected to put pressure on the Government, who is pushing forward with the plan.

Other legislation moving

Many other counties have been legislating targets to cut agricultural emissions, including Ireland cutting methane emissions by 25pc and New Zealand introducing the infamous “burp tax”.

Both countries have elections soon and the methane legislation are set to be hot topics.

Similar legislation is about to be put forward to the Australian Government, according to an article in The Australian this morning.

The article said a branch of the Australian Labor Party, called the Environment Action Network, has gained the support 150 branches to put forward a bill to halve emissions from agriculture and end native forest logging and land clearing at the party’s national conference in August.

National Farmers’ Federation has warned against campaigns that lack research and credibility.










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  1. Patrick Burgers, 27/05/2023

    Australia has an advantage. Just find a way to use it. Maca Pastoral claims carbon neutral. I am sure many others are already, but have no proof. Once that is done Australian exporters offer things that no one in Europe can match. Carbon neutral, high quality in volume, eating quality assured. This is unique. Europe will need imported beef. Brazil is no option. Vion is closing another slaughterhouse in Germany. Europe thinks plant-based is the answer. But for consumers with taste budds, Australian beef is the best option. Name 5 other countries that have the 3 criteria. On buying out farmers, I hope they buy out the pig industry. A large polluter whilst 70pc is being exported mainly to China.

    Editor’s note: Patrick Burgers is a long-standing and very loyal Netherlands-based importer of Australian beef through his firm, the Beef Company.

  2. Arend Tibben, 26/05/2023

    This proposed nitrogen legislation is total madness and will lead to shortages and high food prices especially in a country like Australia where there is not much intensive farming as in the Netherlands.

  3. Peter F Dunn, 25/05/2023

    When will all this madness stop, you might ask?
    Will it be when the supermarket shelves are depleted, and the supply chain is temporarily blamed?
    Will it be when our refrigerators are depleted, and our families ask why?
    Will it be when we start serving smaller meals with a repetitious content?
    Well, by then it will be too late. The idealogues will have already won. The idealogues love community complacency. It makes things much easier for them.

  4. Charles Van Eyk, 25/05/2023

    Doing away with farmers could be a great move! People can sleep in as there is no need for breakfast work all day no stopping for lunch and no dinner no fast food no need for supermarkets look at all the money they would save opens up a whole new world for Dan the tax man

  5. Natalie Hick, 25/05/2023

    So rather than fear mongering, and hollow commentary, what is Cattle Australia going to do to mitigate similar risks in Australia?
    Why not use the position of Australia’s regulated and voluntary carbon markets as leverage against legislation being forced on farmers and graziers here?
    Propagating “impending doom” commentary is not helpful at all.

  6. Michael Vail, 24/05/2023

    Fascist madness … IMO

    It defies common-sense … one tiny country in all of Europe !!

    I was speaking to a Dutch Citizen and I asked what was going-on.

    Farmers are gutted by the false truths being bandied about in EU and in Netherlands 🇳🇱 … it was mentioned that Rutte (PM) is a graduate of Schwab’s WEF ‘school’, and wants to shut down animal protein; AND, wait for it, the real reason to buy the farms, is to build houses and blocks of flats on this land: to increase the supply of housing in the Netherlands and thus get house-prices back down and reduce rent costs.

    He says the Farmers will win …

    We shall all soon see …

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