European Union definitely changing Netherlands' fertilizer policy
The European Union is definitely changing the Netherlands’ fertilizer policy. For years, Dutch farmers could spread more manure than farmers in other EU countries due to the Netherlands’ small territory. But that exception to the rules will be phased out in the coming three years, sources close to the Cabinet told NOS and De Telegraaf.
It became apparent a few months ago that the European Commission wanted to drop the Netherlands’ derogation scheme, which permitted Dutch farmers to use more manure.
Agriculture Minister Henk Staghouwer negotiated for this to happen in phases over three years. A draft agreement states that the about 18,000 farmers who use the derogation scheme must use less manure from next year. From 2026, they must follow the same rules as other EU farmers.
That also means that livestock farmers will have to dispose of the manure they can no longer spread on their lands, which could cost thousands of euros annually. The Cabinet is working on financial compensation for the affected farmers.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality would not comment to NOS, saying that Minister Staghouwer will inform parliament about the matter later today. The spokesperson did say that there were “very extensive discussions” about derogation in recent months. “The aim was clarity for the farmers and that they would not be faced with major changes in business operations all at once,” the spokesperson said to the broadcaster.