Agriculture in North Holland is still against the increase in the deductible for fauna damage from 5 to 20 percent. ‘The province is unreliable. She does not comply with previous agreements’.
At the end of April, 50 protesters took part in the consultation convened by the BIJ12 implementation organization in the De Zoete Inval in Haarlemmerliede on the compensation awarded for the fauna damage inflicted in the summer of 2021.
BIJ12 moved the session, which usually takes place in Utrecht, to North Holland because so many entrepreneurs wanted to explain their objections in person. What followed was a diverse range of challenging practical experiences with goose genes from dairy farmers, field farmers and vegetable growers from the Texel to Vecht region.
Some of the entrepreneurs had traveled to Haarlemmerliede by tractor to reinforce their dissatisfaction with the discount on damages. This caught the attention of the local and even national media.
All personal stories show how much this subject is alive
Attorney Charles van Mierlo took the lead on behalf of LTO Noord. He lamented that the province of North Holland did not send a representative to experience what is going on among the peasants. ‘And to get an answer to the question of why those entrepreneurs think it’s so unfair that the fauna damage policy has been unilaterally adjusted.’
Van Mierlo also criticized the argument that the province wants to encourage farmers to do more to prevent damage. “It’s a disregard for the efforts already being made to keep the geese away from the plots.”
The lawyer also stated that this ignores the fact that the goose population has multiplied since 2005. »North Holland has promised entrepreneurs to compensate for the damage until the goose population has been reduced to the level of the reference year in question. At the same time, the management rules are so impractical that attempts to reduce the stock through hunting are of no use.
Farmer Astrid Francis from Noordbeemster told that her regular hunter no longer wants to enter the country to shoot geese because his hunting license is in danger due to the unclear rules. ‘As a result, we have little choice but to chase the animals away. We have already invested at least EUR 6,500 in all possible resources, but it is achieving almost nothing. We chase them away to the neighbors, who can do nothing but chase them back again. “
Free-range vegetable grower Niels Zuurbier from Heerhugowaard invests several times a year in preventing goose damage. “We even hired a fighter specifically. In addition, every day employees are busy protecting our grounds as much as possible from damage by eating at crucial times,” he said.
»Not to mention the damage caused by goose droppings, which also poses a major risk to food safety for our products. If we add up all the damage, it runs into tons. In the meantime, the number of geese, and thus the problem, is only increasing. ‘
It also sees a cattle farmer from Beemster happen on the meadows in the polders. “We have a trained border collie that we send into the country to repel geese, but when they are back in the yard, they are back in their usual place. In the meantime, the grasslands are so barren that there is no longer any protection or food for meadow birds’.
Milk producer Albert Hooijer from Weesp has been working with the province as a fauna director on behalf of LTO Noord for ten years. He condemns the long winter rest and the impractical rules of hunting the geese. »At least in Natura 2000 sites. Geese cannot go there for their food. There is almost nothing to eat there in terms of vegetation anyway. Any nutrient-rich places in the wild have been fenced off by the managers so that the animals are dependent on our agricultural crops. ‘
Also on Texel
Organic dairy farmer Ineke Hin from Oudeschild on Texel is also very sad to see the goose population on the island increase every year. “We have an extensive farm but can no longer harvest winter rations for our 40 cows on 35 acres,” she said.
‘Unfortunately, white-fronted goose, whooper goose, barnacle goose, Egyptian goose, greylag goose and Canada goose graze with us. That means we have to buy roughage. We must not hunt geese because our grounds are located between two nature reserves. Still, we are cut by 20 percent, even though it was agreed that it should not even apply to our situation.
New guidelines for nitrate
Milk producer Arjan Zant from Zunderdorp raised an additional risk, namely that of the new nitrate guidelines that will come into force next year. The growing population – the excrement of four geese equals one cow – provides a lot of extra manure, often also close to shore.
“It is at the expense of water quality that we as farmers will soon have to deal with stricter rules. That bill also ends up on our plate. ‘
After the event, campaign leader Jack Rijlaarsdam was pleased with the large attendance and the large number of speakers. ‘Almost half of the objectors came themselves or sent a representative. The fact that they have taken the time to tell their story here, despite the busy work on the ground, shows how much this subject lives. ‘
BIJ12 informs North Holland about objections
“What will happen to the minutes of this hearing?” sounded a question from the audience in Haarlemmerliede. Floris Ensink, knowledge and research coordinator at BIJ12, stated that the province of North Holland will be informed of the objections expressed in Haarlemmerliede. “Minutes of this meeting will also be used in our assessment of the objections.” Ensink also explained that BIJ12 can also advise the province ‘unsolicited’. “At least we have enough ammunition for it today.” The extent to which this is being heard was a follow-up question. Ensink: ‘The province always listens to us, but ultimately makes the final decision itself.’ On the further procedure: ‘All objectors shall receive a written reply from BIJ12, whether or not their objection is justified. After that, it is still possible to go to court. ‘