Farmers fear mandatory buyouts ahead of nitrogen emissions decision
Some provinces in the country will have to cut up to 70 percent of their nitrogen emissions, which the Cabinet will present plans for next week. Many farmers are worried that the burden will fall on them, according to the NOS.
Since 2019, when the Council of State determined the Netherlands’ current nitrogen policy was insufficient, provinces have been looking for ways to lower emissions. According to RIVM calculations, agriculture causes 41 percent of nitrogen precipitation in sensitive nature areas.
Now, some farmers fear the new plans will force them to accept buy-outs and shrink their livestock populations considerably. Farmers’ organization LTO urged provinces to “firmly resist these Hague dictates” ahead of next week’s decision.
However, nitrogen administrators told the NOS that –– while a big change is almost definitely coming –– it will need to be a joint effort. Drentse CDA director Henk Jumelet agreed.
"All sectors must participate," Jumelet said. "So not just agriculture, but also industry and [air] traffic."
Minister Christianne van der Waal for Nature and Nitrogen emphasized that mandatory buy-outs would be a last resort to reduce emissions. "The biggest challenge now lies in the agricultural sector,” she said. “How much less livestock there will be is the result of the area-oriented approach. So you can't say exactly how much it will be. It is obvious that it will ultimately lead to a reduction in livestock.”
In April, she laid out a plan for buying out farmers, suggesting the government set aside 270 million for dairy farmers, 115 for pig farmers, 115 million for chicken farmers and 250 million for nature. Critics say these amounts would not be enough.
"We are faced with a major challenge," Brabant CDA director Ronnes told the NOS. "Perhaps the biggest change in our country ever. We have to save nature, but we also want to build houses, build roads and give our livestock farmers a perspective."