Climate Mandates Imposed on Dutch Farmers Will Ruin Their Livelihoods: War Correspondent

'If you control the food supply, you control that population'
By Ella Kietlinska
Ella Kietlinska
Ella Kietlinska
Ella Kietlinska is a reporter for The Epoch Times focusing on U.S. and world politics.
and Joshua Philipp
Joshua Philipp
Joshua Philipp
Joshua Philipp is an award-winning investigative reporter with The Epoch Times and host of EpochTV's "Crossroads" program. He is a recognized expert on unrestricted warfare, asymmetrical hybrid warfare, subversion, and historical perspectives on today’s issues. His 10-plus years of research and investigations on the Chinese Communist Party, subversion, and related topics give him unique insight into the global threat and political landscape.
July 12, 2022Updated: July 13, 2022

The livelihoods of Dutch farmers are under attack due to the Dutch government’s proposed nitrogen policy, which could necessitate the mass slaughter of livestock and potentially shut down almost a third of the country’s farms.

If this policy is implemented, it will have “major security consequences, not just for the Netherlands, but for all of Europe and the world,” said Michael Yon, a war correspondent who has recently arrived in the Netherlands to report on the ground from the Dutch farmers’ protests.

The Netherlands is a small country in Europe with a population of 17 million people, but it is the second-largest food exporter in the world, Yon said in a recent interview for EpochTV’s “Crossroads” program. “They have the most efficient farmers in the world.”

King Willem-Alexander and Prime Minister Mark Rutte sign the Royal Decrees, as part of the inauguration of the new Mark Rutte's IV cabinet, at Noordeinde Palace in The Hague, on January 10, 2022. - Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's fourth successive coalition government is to be sworn in, marking the end of the longest running formation of 271 days in Dutch history. - Netherlands OUT (Photo by Sem VAN DER WAL / various sources / AFP) / Netherlands OUT (Photo by SEM VAN DER WAL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
King Willem-Alexander (L) and Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands sign the Royal Decrees as part of the inauguration of the new prime minister’s cabinet at Noordeinde Palace in The Hague on Jan. 10, 2022. (Sem Vander Wal/AFP via Getty Images)

In 2021, the Netherlands’s coalition government proposed slashing livestock numbers in the country by 30 percent to meet nitrogen greenhouse gas emission targets.

The country has already implemented stringent restrictions on new construction, intending to curb nitrogen emissions.

Dutch bank Rabobank has argued that those new hurdles have slowed home building in the Netherlands, intensifying a housing shortage in the densely populated coastal nation.

On June 10, Christianne van der Wal, the Dutch Minister for Nitrogen and Nature Policy, unveiled a plan to reduce nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands, according to a statement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The Dutch Provinces are responsible for developing corresponding measures to reach the nitrogen emission reductions between 12 and 70 percent, depending on the area,” the statement said.

“Farmers in some provinces will be particularly hard hit … and the Dutch government acknowledged ‘there is not a future for all {Dutch} farmers within [this] approach.'”

The Netherlands Chamber of Commerce says that nitrogen environmental pollution comes from burning fossil fuels but also from manure produced by livestock and fertilizers used in farming. It is estimated that to implement the proposed plan, farmers would need to reduce their cattle herds by 30 percent, according to Barron’s.

But Yon said Dutch farmers are not polluting the environment and that they’ve been farming the land for thousands of years.

Nitrogen is being labeled as a pollutant and used as a decoy by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to put the farmers out of business and control the food supply, Yon said.

Dutch Farmers Protest Against Climate Policy

Epoch Times Photo
Dutch farmers protesting against the government’s plans to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide and ammonia gather for a demonstration at Stroe, Netherlands, on June 22, 2022. (Aleksandar Furtula/AP Photo)

The proposed measures sparked protests among Dutch farmers in June, with a large protest joined by truckers which started on July 4.

Dutch farmers, truckers, and others have used social media in a decentralized way to organize blockades of food distribution hubs across the northwest European country, which resulted in empty shelves in supermarkets.

The protesters also planned to demonstrate at many of the nation’s airports, specifically mentioning Schiphol Airport and Eindhoven Airport.

Dutch farmers and truckers realize that their government is following the recommendations of the WEF, which has been trying to take their land and control their food supply, Yon said.

“If you control the food supply, you control that population completely,” he said.

Dutch farmers are very educated, and they are both businesspeople and farmers, Yon said. They know that if they lose, they will lose their livelihood, and the consequences of their loss will be felt for many generations, he said.

“The farmers are rising up. They know they’re going to be put out of business … which would put all of Europe on its knees, foodwise,” Yon said.

Similar policies are being introduced in Germany and some other countries, Yon said. Some German farmers who want to show their solidarity are also involved in the Dutch protest, he added.

World Economic Forum Recommendations

Epoch Times Photo
Founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab delivers remarks at the Congress centre during the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switerland, on May 23, 2022. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)

According to a 2019 white paper (pdf) commissioned by the WEF, livestock’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions varies between 7 and 18 percent. “With technical and financial support to adopt improved practices, producers could reduce their livestock emissions by up to 30 percent.”

The paper proposes some ways to meet future demands for livestock-derived foods.

Livestock production in large industrial-scale enterprises may have a lower footprint of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of product than small or medium farms with a mixture of crops and livestock, or livestock production farms that are less efficient, the paper said. Therefore, in developing countries, industrial-scale livestock production facilities should be a preferable solution, the WEF paper states.

Another way of meeting the demand for protein while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, proposed by the WEF paper, is exploring and promoting alternative forms of protein, such as plant-based foods and proteins made from plants, insects, and lab-cultured proteins.

Many Dutch people understand the implications of their government’s policies and support the farmers, but there are a lot of people who are not yet tracking with what’s going on and need to wake up, Yon said.

“[They] are going to get hit sooner or later,” he said. “Would you rather have your shelves empty now for just a really short time or be under the thumb of the beast forever?”

If these farmers are knocked out after one or two generations pass, the chain of knowledge will be broken, and this expertise will be gone, Yon said. People’s food security will always be controlled by somebody else, he added.

Farm Buyout Program

Epoch Times Photo
Jaap Zegwaard watches some of his herd of 180 cattle, mostly black and white Holstein-Friesians, eat in his milking barns in Maasland near Rotterdam, Netherlands, on July 8, 2022. (Mike Corder/AP Photo)

The Dutch government policy will also focus on reducing nitrogen deposited in soils, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dutch agriculture accounts for 45 percent of soil nitrogen deposits, the report said.

Although Dutch provinces are required to devise measures to address the issue, the Dutch government will step in if provinces do not come up with their solutions within a year.

The government has already allocated funds to buy out farms from their owners, the report said. Those who do not want to be bought out will be asked to innovate, scale up, or move their farms, and the government also has an option to confiscate their farms, according to the report. Several scientists have already pointed out that there are 20,000 farms in the Netherlands, and the allocated funding may be insufficient to buy out even a couple thousand of them, the report stated.

Yon said that this policy divides people by accusing the farmers of “poisoning the land” with their farming activities and advocating opening farms to development.

“That’s how Stalin did it” when he eliminated the kulaks, Yon added.

Soviet leader Joseph Stalin ordered the collectivization of agriculture in Ukraine when it was a Soviet republic. Most Ukrainian farmers resisted the collectivization, but the Soviet regime forced small or subsistence farmers to surrender their farms to the government and work on government-owned collective farms as workers.

The wealthy and successful farmers were labeled “kulaks” and declared enemies of the state by the Soviet regime, according to a study by the University of Minnesota. The regime imposed unfeasibly high quotas on villages for the amount of grain they were required to contribute to the Soviet state.

When villages could not meet the quotas, the regime confiscated all crops and food the farmers had stored at their farms, causing a man-made famine known as the Holodomor, which claimed several million lives from 1932 to 1933.

As a result of collectivization, farmers who resisted were either deported, sent to gulags, or executed.

In the face of global famine, taking a top food exporter like the Netherlands out of the equation will set up the world’s people for massive starvation, Yon explained.

“Only the biggest psychopaths in history could possibly even consider doing that,” he said. “And that’s what they’re doing.”

Nathan Worcester contributed to this report.