Do not buy out farmers, let them grow organically | Opinion

Farmers are angry because they feel they are being blamed for the nitrogen problem. Photo: Kees van de Veen

Use common sense, says Hilbert Everts from Hoogeveen. Farmers will not stop, so it makes no sense to buy out. Stop upscaling and let them grow organically.

When I drive from Hoogeveen to Groningen as a resident of Drenthe, there is a sign at the edge halfway through the trip with the inscription ‘what we miss in this country is common sense’. This sign dates from the time when the peasants protested on a large scale.

It is time for the government and the representatives of the farmers to use common sense, because we have big problems in agriculture. Such as: robbery is committed on the ground due to the use of too much fertilizer and pesticides (poison). As a result, the quality of the food produced (and our health too!) Deteriorates. There are stench nuisances and animal welfare is also hard to find.

Make as much food as possible

After World War II, farmers were required (never hungry again) to produce more food and ensure that the small farms and livestock farms achieved a higher yield so that the farmer could also get a reasonable income. To increase the yield per. hectares, more mechanization and fertilizer had to be introduced. We also started more intensively with farming, and animal feed is sourced from abroad (harmful to the environment due to the many transports), so that all the cows, pigs and chickens can be fed. Large stables also seemed to house all these animals. Yields were further increased and many agricultural products were sold abroad. In order to sell the products on the world market, the cost price should not be too high. The farmer had to keep growing to create a decent income for himself.

All agriculture and livestock farming continued, and more and more plant protection products and fertilizers were used to increase production. Animal welfare has also deteriorated significantly.

Now we have come to the point where we have to conclude that we can not continue in this way in the light of the above arguments.

It’s time for a new approach

The Minister of Agriculture and representatives of agriculture sit down regularly and come up with all sorts of measures based on specific systems and current business operations. I urge everyone involved in this issue to really use common sense and develop a whole new agriculture and livestock farm. Throw out the expensive procurement schemes and help farmers (I prefer to talk about agricultural entrepreneurs) convert their farms to organic or circular farming.

The low interest in the purchase schemes already indicates that most farmers want to continue farming. For example, give the farmers an income during the time (4 to 5 years with a settlement scheme) where they convert their agriculture to organic or circular, so that they do not have to settle for anything during this period.

Buying out is more expensive

Paying an income to these farmers could very well be cheaper than all the purchase schemes of agricultural land, which then have to be converted back into nature reserves. Make sure all kinds of lobbyists from different industries stay out the door while making plans and do not let these people influence you. The future must focus on the farmer and his environment and the production of healthy food, so that a natural environment is created around the farms that are connected to the nature reserves. During this transition, companies will die and employment will disappear, but I do not think that is a bad thing because we lack people in many places in the Netherlands.

Hilbert Everts from Hoogeveen is a farmer’s son. He worked in education until his retirement, but has always followed the agricultural sector.

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