“The government’s strategy to take a regional approach to the issue will lead to major problems in parts of Gelderland and Noord-Brabant, where livestock farming is concentrated and a number of vulnerable habitats are being seriously damaged.
“To meet the new rules, the amount of livestock farming will have to be reduced drastically, and that means some farmers will have to be bought out and shut down their operations.”
Iversen said farmers who do not “voluntarily” accept the government’s proposal may have their land seized outright.
“With the latest round of tightening of regulations, the Dutch government has announced more multi-billion-dollar buyout arrangements but has also stated they will expropriate the land from farmers who do not comply,” Iversen said. “They’ll take their land.”
Iversen quoted Henk Staghouwer, the Dutch minister of agriculture, nature and food quality, who said, “There is not a future for all farmers within this approach.”
Staghouwer offered to begin negotiations with the farmers, Iversen said, “but only on the condition the participants condemn the demonstrations” taking place in response to the new policies.
In response, police fired tear gas on demonstrating farmers and military tanks were brought in to try and clear the blockades.
Meanwhile, Dutch media described the protests as “extremist” and the work of “militants,” Iversen said, leading farmers to also blockade the headquarters of media outlets.
About a Third of 50,000 Dutch Farms Expected to ‘Disappear’ by 2030The Dutch government’s actions are attracting global attention — including in New Zealand, where the government prepared a report on the developments in the Netherlands.
The report describes the Dutch government’s policies as part of “its long-awaited plan to tackle the country’s ‘nitrogen crisis,’” adding the “bold plan zeroes in on the Netherlands’ agriculture industry, calling for scaled emissions reduction across the country.”
The report references the Dutch minister of nature and nitrogen, who said she “expects about a third of the 50,000 Dutch farms to ‘disappear’ by 2030” in what is described by some experts as “the greatest overhaul of the Dutch agricultural sector in history.”
These farms are expected to “disappear” via the aforementioned “voluntary” buyouts on the part of the government, according to the New Zealand government report, drawing on a “25 billion euro [$25.6 billion] Nitrogen Fund to help farmers (voluntarily) quit, relocate or downsize their business and make them more nature-friendly.”
The New Zealand report detailed the “compensation” that would be provided to farmers who “voluntarily” choose to downsize:
“Dairy farmers that want to be bought out need to reduce their cattle stocks by 95 percent and permanently relinquish their right to increase stocks in future.
“For pig, chicken, and turkey farms, this percentage is 80 percent.
Could Bill Gates’ Connection to Dutch Agriculture Minister Have Anything to Do With New Nitrogen Policy?In a recent episode of the “RFK Jr. The Defender Podcast,” agricultural researcher, permaculturalist and author Christian Westbrook — also known as the “Ice Age Farmer” — said the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have long pushed the idea of a so-called Green Revolution, based on the idea that animals and plants are “dirty and dangerous.”
Westbrook warned that narratives crafted to appeal to “green consumers” disguise a more nefarious intent on the part of the global elite who, in fact, are in the process of launching a “hostile takeover” of the global food system.
In fact, Dutch political commentator and legal philosopher Eva Vlaardingerbroek recently raised questions about the Dutch nitrogen-reduction policy and a possible link to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“I do think all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef.
“Eventually, that green premium is modest enough that you can sort of change the [behavior of] people or use regulation to totally shift the demand.”
“… speed up its expansion in France and Germany, and will invest especially in robotic fulfilment centres, electric vehicles and a team of software developers.
“Moreover, the company wants to create a framework to satisfy the growing demand — and to do so more sustainably.”
And, according to Iversen, “since 2017, the pig population [in The Netherlands] has been shrinking because the government has been paying farmers to close their businesses.”
‘Farmers Did Not Create the Nitrogen Problem’ — the Chemical Industry DidIn her report on Dutch farmers, Iversen said no one is arguing we shouldn’t address climate change. It’s more a matter of how do we balance that need with the need to address today’s urgent hunger crisis — and who pays the price?
“[The] climate and environment are extremely important issues and we should always work to improve our planet,” Iversen said. “But when people can’t get to work or put food on the table, the question becomes whether or not we’re going about this the right way.”
And while much of today’s climate change-related rhetoric is focused on reducing carbon emissions, the “next on the chopping block seems to be nitrogen emissions,” Iversen said.
“Nitrogen, which is a key nutrient for plants, is also a pollutant. Fertilizers that washes off the fields can end up in lakes and coastal areas, killing marine life.
“Airborne ammonia from things like power plants and engines contributes to smog and other environmental issues, but in farm-centric areas like the Netherlands, it mostly comes from livestock, urine and manure.”
“In order to reduce nitrogen emissions, you would have to reduce livestock,” Iversen said, as “many farmers use manure as fertilizer.”
Shiva told The Defender that synthetic fertilizer production is highly energy-intensive:
“One kilogram [2.2 pounds] of nitrogen fertilizer requires the energy equivalent of two liters [0.53 gallons] of diesel.
“Energy used during fertilizer manufacture was equivalent to 191 billion liters [50.5 billion gallons] of diesel in 2000 and is projected to rise to 277 billion [73.2 billion gallons] in 2030.”
While the nitrogen pollution problem must be addressed, Shiva said, she sharply criticized the Dutch government’s “unscientific, unjust and undemocratic response,” which places the onus on farmers.
“According to the ‘polluter pays’ principle, the chemical industry must pay for the pollution. Farmers are consumers of fertilizers, not the manufacturers. They are victims of a chemical-intensive industrial agriculture system.
“The planet and people need more farmers, not less.”
Instead, according to Shiva:
“The scientific and just response to the nitrogen problem is [to] shift from fossil-fuel chemical agriculture to biodiverse ecological agriculture and regenerative farming, and to create transition strategies for farmers to shift to ecological agriculture, which regenerates soil nitrogen while making farmers free of harmful and costly chemicals.
“Chemical-free food is good for the health of the planet and people.”
According to the press release:
“Governments must stop making empty promises or creating more bureaucratic processes.
“Instead, they need to invest in small-scale food producers and food workers. They need to repurpose our global agriculture and food system to better serve the health of people, our planet, and our economies.”
That’s the problem with the Dutch government’s policies, according to Iversen, which appear to be intended to favor major agribusiness companies at the expense of small farmers.
What Happens to Dutch Farms ‘Affects Us All’Whatever happens in the Netherlands in terms of food production will likely have global ramifications, due to the size of the country’s agricultural sector, according to Iversen, who said, “What happens to their farms affects us all.”
“Some [Dutch] farms will go under … just because of their inability to secure fertilizer for their farms.
“The ones that can stay in operation will of course pass those extra costs on to the consumer, driving food prices up even more than they are now, and with less meat on the market, we’re looking at a serious price crisis.”
Iversen said “Dutch farmers know this,” which is why they are “sounding the alarm bell” and have been joined in their protests by many non-farmers, as “it isn’t just their businesses that would be impacted, it’s all of us.”
The above may, however, not even entirely capture the full extent of the price increases experienced by many consumers.
“Let’s take the consumer price level. That measures inflation. Over time, the way the government has measured inflation has fundamentally been altered.
“Formerly, there was a fixed basket of goods; items in the basket were weighted according to an estimate of their percentage of consumer expenditures, and so if an item went up, then the index would go up by the weight of that item in the basket of goods, so that you had a measure of a constant standard of living.”
This has since changed, according to Roberts:
“What they did was, they introduced the ‘substitution effect.’ They argued that when the price of something goes up, consumers substitute a less expensive alternative … When the price of something went up, they threw it out of the index and stuck something in there that was less expensive.
“In that way, they changed the index from measuring a constant standard of living to one that measures a declining standard of living.
“They do this in order to avoid having to pay cost-of-living adjustments on social security. That is one way they understate inflation.”