Because the government has not written a perspective letter for agriculture, we have invited people to do so. Today POV chairman Linda Verriet’s perspective. “In recent years, we have focused far too one-sidedly on model-based nitrogen. We have lost sight of food production.’
The year 2022 is coming to an end. This was a year where our cabinet promised you perspective on several occasions. Unfortunately, that perspective did not come. This week I was appointed by Agrio as perspective minister, and asked to come up with a perspective letter on behalf of the government. I would like to do that. Ministerial colleague Piet Adema intends to come up with a further elaboration of his perspective for the farmers in January. My perspective letter gives him something to hold on to.
First of all, as Minister for Perspectives, I offer my deepest apologies on behalf of the government. We as a government have allowed it to happen, and have also contributed to the fact that farmers have been dismissed as environmental polluters and animal torturers. We are very sorry. We want to ensure that from now on we take the wise words of nitrogen mediator Johan Remke to heart.
In recent years, we have focused too one-sidedly on model-based nitrogen. We have completely lost sight of food production and the economy. Food production is only sustainable if consumers are assured of good and affordable food and farmers have sufficient income. Food production is currently not sustainable. The Netherlands is no longer able to produce enough food for its own population. Much more agricultural land is already needed than the Netherlands has. Even if we change the building plans. Food prices are also rising. The food shortage will become really acute in the coming years if we continue like this. We failed to ask Wageningen UR to calculate food security, food prices and the economic consequences for farmers and agricultural chains in our plans. We will still do that with lightning speed. And adjust the policy where necessary.
Lower cost revenue model
We have recognized that the accumulation of regulations leads to a significant increase in costs. We want to reward entrepreneurs who comply with the law and work well. With fewer rules and fewer controls. It cannot be that an entire sector is punished for mistakes made by a few. Trust in agricultural entrepreneurs is now the basis of politics. Furthermore, ACM will ensure that the farmers have a fair position in the chain, that the chain agreements are transparent and that the cake is shared fairly. A market manager is also appointed for this purpose.
From now on, we will facilitate the farmers so that they can make an optimal contribution to sustainable food production. We will stop pressure, framing, rule drive and control to two digits after the decimal point.
We will also facilitate healthy production chains and promote equal conditions:
- Products produced to lower standards than ours are marked in the supermarket with a large red cross.
- Market-oriented quality systems are facilitated rather than hindered by regulations.
- The possibilities for producer organizations (POs) will be expanded, they will receive optimal protection according to the framework that ACM has set up for this.
- Reduction of (error) costs in the chain is of great importance. We want to reduce regulatory pressure. We are thinking here of efficient use of NVWA, robust fertilizer policy and better interconnection of data streams.
Place for all choices
Politicians and civil servants stop prescribing how farmers should work. Means that regulations give way to target regulations. Entrepreneurship and craftsmanship are therefore again central. Farmers know better than anyone how to produce sustainably and what type of farming suits them best. The choices of the future are in the hands of the entrepreneurs themselves:
- Efficient farming
- Extensification, organic, concepts, multifunctional agriculture
The Netherlands is in a legal nitrogen swamp. Caused by unstable policy, a virtual model policy that is not tenable in court. This means that we must at least go back to the drawing board for the nitrogen and fertilizer policy. Based on facts and figures, and measurement is knowing.
The current extremely one-sided nature policy no longer has anything to do with nature, nor with democracy. But it is driven by the ambitions of some politicians, TBOs and NGOs.
The current policy is causing great harm to businesses within and outside of agriculture. The injuries are getting worse day by day. I will see to it that this stops and come up with an emergency law. This emergency law is the start of a total reform of nature policy. The Emergency Act provides that:
- PAS detectors will be legalized
- There will be a threshold value for construction projects
- NH3 and NOx are not interchangeable
The long-awaited LBV opens on January 1. This scheme gives farmers across the country space to stop and is accompanied by a social plan. The threshold value has been chosen in such a way that as many farmers as possible can voluntarily stop. In addition, we will open a 55+ scheme in mid-2023. This will help farmers without a successor to retire earlier.
We want to prevent farmers who want to stop being ineligible for a stop scheme. In addition, we want to prevent farmers who want to continue being forced to stop. It might not happen!
We also provide tax measures that prevent a significant part of the money from the purchase flowing back to the treasury. In addition, the local authorities will have space and resources for:
- Relocation of companies;
- Red for red. We note that new homes are not placed in the countryside, but on the outskirts of residential areas.
- Functional change. Places and buildings suitable for other activities are protected. Permits are made suitable for the new function, in order to continue to stimulate activity and employment in rural areas.
- Agricultural land that is bought up by the public becomes available again as agricultural land for those who stay. The same applies to good agricultural locations.
Land as a target
Furthermore, this cabinet will cease to collectively introduce resource rules for fertilization and plant protection. These regulations regularly prove disastrous for soil quality. Good agricultural practices will be the starting point. And that means tailored fertilization. Craftsmanship and trust are now paramount. Farmers know their soil best and choose their fertilizer themselves. My ministry will come up with practical test kits that farmers can use to easily check the status of soil fertility and the quality of surface water on their farms. Monitoring boreholes will also be provided, giving farmers insight into the quality of the groundwater beneath their plots. Good craftsmanship is rewarded with fewer rules and controls.
Projects and permits
The government will help entrepreneurs with the necessary permits. An official is appointed to facilitate the farmer. This official is the focal point between local and national authorities as well as between the ministries. It saves you a lot of time and worry.
We consider it socially desirable that our food producers have good buildings and equipment. We therefore go to 2e open a scheme in the quarter of 2023 to speed up the remediation of obsolete barns and replace them with a new sustainable barn. In addition, we expand the options on your building block. Processing and storage of manure is made possible on farms. In addition, a number of locations have been designated nationwide for large-scale manure processing. The National Government provides the necessary permits for this.
Entrepreneurs get the opportunity to develop the company in an integrated manner. Matches the development path chosen. We recognize that you cannot achieve a 10 everywhere on all themes and that a consensus must be reached. You will need to motivate and report on how you make these choices. We ask each company to give a more than adequate rating. We do justice to the diversity of companies and entrepreneurs.
Our wish for 2023
I hope this will give farmers in the Netherlands confidence and perspective. I, your Minister of Perspective, wish you all an enlightening, protective and productive 2023. The Netherlands is proud of you!