Nitrogen emissions: Dutch farmers angry at cuts to livestock

By Becci Knowles
Farmers in the Netherlands protesting against government plans to cut farms and livestock to reduce nitrogen emissions

The cabinet has allocated €25bn (£20bn) to reducing nitrogen emissions within the farming industry by 2030, with targets for specific areas and provinces have been laid out in a colour-coded map.

Ministers call the proposal an “unavoidable transition” that aims to improve air, land and water quality.

Why are Dutch farmers protesting?

Farmers are angry because proposals for tackling nitrogen emissions include closing an estimated 11,200 farms, with another 17,600 farmers having to significantly reduce their livestock. A reduction in intensive farming and the conversion to sustainable "green farms” is also being discussed..

According to reports, the relocation or buyout of farmers is “almost inevitable” and while it’s hoped that forced buyouts will be avoided, the idea has not not been ruled out completely.

Livestock produce ammonia in their urine and faeces. Previously governments around the world have called on farmers to use feed for their animals that contain less protein as a way of reducing ammonia emissions. Keeping large numbers of livestock on small areas of land compounds the problem.

 

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