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Opinion Jaap Major
First of all my compliments to Mr. Remkes for how well he has formulated this “What is possible” report. As a farmer, for the first time you feel understanding and appreciation in society for the problems and challenges that have come your way. Even the nitrogen ticket is off the table, and Minister Christianne van der Wal has apologized for her harsh words towards the farmers. Fantastic you would say.
I never agree with Jesse Klaver, but now I do for the first time when he said of this report: “the peasants are beautiful in it.” For what is my surprise. Minister van der Wal’s card must be removed from the table, but a new card, albeit with different suits, will be returned. However, the colors have roughly the same meaning as Van der Waal’s map. We are again in suspense, what color our area will be.
Why don’t we say: The polluter pays. There is talk of nitrogen deposition and the farmers are held responsible for that. All nitrogen emissions from farmers, traffic, industry, our people, the nature reserve itself and abroad are added together. This sum is not in the hands of the farmers. Much better and easier is: look at the farmer’s emissions and hold him accountable for this. Place a random point in each province. Circle that point. Then see which 100 farms are closest to that point. Determine their nitrogen emissions. Then you have an average and this average is the starting point for the nitrogen emission.
The farmer just needs to know for himself
Before 2030, these emissions must be reduced by 50%. How? The farmer must know that. There are already all sorts of technical possibilities. An example: to ferment the manure and thus supply the citizens with green gas. Give him a grant to make this happen. Buying out is a much more expensive option and also increases the food price. Also, don’t forget that the farmer gives us food every day. When the farmer has left here, the foreign land with much poorer soil must fill up. You can safely say: 1 hectare of agricultural land has been removed from here, 10 hectares of nature has been reclaimed abroad for the production of food. So also harmful to nature worldwide.
Also consider: a farmer’s plot absorbs a lot of CO2 and adds a lot of oxygen through carbon dioxide assimilation. In this way, farmers help fight climate change and feed us. A nature reserve absorbs some CO2 during growth and in winter it absorbs oxygen again due to the rotting of the vegetation. A good growing layer also retains water to prevent drying out. When the culture layer is gone, the water is no longer retained. Natural areas therefore result in drying out. A mature forest is also CO2 neutral.
Loss of 62,500 ha of agricultural land due to buffer strips
This also applies to the new fertilizer rules with 3 meter wide buffer strips along the watercourses. The farmer has lost this land. Throughout the Netherlands, 62,500 ha have again been removed from agriculture. With a lot of difficult rules to comply with. Incomprehensible to the farmer himself. Much easier is: farmer you arrange it yourself, what you do with your soil and fertilizer. We set up a few measuring points on your plot and there we must not measure more nitrogen loss than the rules from Brussels. If the discharge is too high, you can no longer buy fertilizer or you have to dispose of the slurry. Until the losses are good again. The farmer is therefore encouraged to store as much organic matter as possible to counteract global warming. In addition, all EU member states must comply with the same rules.
Government: you are on the wrong track on global warming, agriculture, nature and economic impact. Or you don’t dare to measure the farmer’s nitrogen emissions, afraid that it will turn out that nitrogen deposition and water quality are determined by many more factors than just agriculture.
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