In late November, the Dutch government set aside approximately $25 billion to begin buying farmland, whether the owners want to sell or not. “There is no better offer coming,” Dutch Nitrogen Minister Christianne van der Waal told farmers. The government expects to purchase between 2000 and 3000 farms.
Government leaders claim that the radical restructuring of Dutch farming is necessary for the good of the environment. However, facts suggest that this has little to do with the environment and much to do with centralizing power.
Arguments over farming regulations in the Netherlands have been raging for some time now.
In October 2019, the Raad von State (the Netherlands’ equivalent of the Supreme Court) ruled that the country’s previous system for regulating nitrogen emissions did not comply with EU regulations. Dutch politicians stated that the nation should withdraw permission for farmers to emit nitrogen, suggesting that Dutch farmers reduce their livestock numbers by half.
Of course, this was not popular. Farmers have bills to pay just like the rest of us, and telling a business owner that they have to cut production in half usually means the end of the business. Not surprisingly, Dutch farmers started protesting, causing more than 600 miles of traffic jams by clogging highways with their tractors.
Despite these loud protestations, the Dutch government has been plowing ahead.
While mainstream media has been keeping the storyline simple, that farmers refuse to see the big picture in terms of climate change, the reality is that Dutch farms have already reduced their nitrogen emissions by more than half over the past 30 years. Dutch farmers have proved themselves reasonable and willing to comply with achievable goals. However, the insistence by the EU that member nations reduce their nitrogen emissions by half again within seven years, by 2030, is a fantasy.
Advocates of the forced emissions reductions don’t see why these huge changes in rules for farmers seem so catastrophic. They seem to believe that current, conventional farms in the Netherlands can be forced into functional regenerative organic farms overnight. Now, I’m a big fan of organic, but I’m also a fan of reality. Anyone who wants to have an informed opinion of different agricultural options needs to listen to the farmers who actually manage the diverse regenerative farms that these armchair environmentalists at The Hague want to push everyone into.
What do the actual experts have to say?
Will Harris, who has been managing White Oak Pastures for decades, just gave a fantastic interview with Joe Rogan about what it takes to convert a conventional farm to a profitable organic one. It’s great, he loves it, but it was a labor of love that occurred over a large course of his lifetime.
Likewise, Joel Salatin, who has been managing Polyface Farm for decades, has written numerous books about his family’s experience converting their property with its denuded soil to a profitable farm. These farmers know what EU bureaucrats are asking of the Dutch farmers because they have actually done it. And they know that it takes decades to build the soil that makes regenerative agriculture possible.
It’s also worth noting that both Will Harris and Joel Salatin own their land. They have taxes but not mortgages. They also live in areas with abundant water. Out where I am, water can be a make-or-break scenario for farmers. I admire these men, who have done so much to publicize regenerative agriculture. I find them inspiring. But they’ve got advantages many would-be farmers don’t. It needs to be kept in mind that farming is like any other industry in that each location has its quirks and that top-down “solutions” mandated by far-off government agencies can rarely accommodate the diversity of issues farmers on the ground actually encounter.
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Nitrogen emissions are a problem.
Of course, people want their environments to be as clean as possible. But are other industries seeing the same draconian measures? Has any other industry in the Netherlands been asked to cut its output by half?
The transportation and construction industries in the Netherlands are facing a slew of new regulations. Many construction projects are being delayed. Construction companies will all have to update their equipment, and airports will be expected to electrify more, and more of their facilities. The transportation and construction industries are receiving subsidies to help comply with the new regulations, but there is still a great deal of disruption.
No one seems to address the wastefulness of scrapping tons of perfectly good, usable equipment. How this is supposed to be better for the environment is beyond me. I’m also not sure how importing large amounts of food from much farther away, probably using lots of fossil fuels in the transportation process, is supposed to be more environmentally friendly, either.
And, understandably, many in the Dutch business community are intensely frustrated by their government’s emissions mandates. In fact, almost one in four Dutch companies are planning to move abroad, according to a recent survey by the Amsterdam Centre for Business Innovation.
But farmers can’t just pick up and move.
Well, they can, but for a farmer to move is an act of desperation. It’s far more traumatic than renting a new office space in a new city. For farming families that have been on the same land for generations, their land is a part of their identity in a way that’s totally unique. Many Dutch farm families have been on their land for hundreds of years. For a farmer whose family held onto its lands during the German occupation in World War II, only to be forcibly bought out by his own government, is a kind of betrayal not comparable to anything else.
I see two reasons for the hammer to fall so hard on the Dutch farmers. The first is this attachment to the land. Farmers have always been known as an ornery bunch. Many of the efforts to “nudge” the behavior of first-world citizens hinge on the fact that the majority of the populations of these countries are strongly motivated by convenience and creature comforts. Not so with farmers.
I have run a small side operation selling pastured chickens. I have a lot of farmer friends. The farming lifestyle means you’re willing to head to the barns in a snowstorm or hurricane to check on animals in the middle of the night; willing to work outdoors in all kinds of weather because if it’s harvest time, it’s harvest time; and willing to get covered in animal feces because if you have livestock, it’s just going to happen at some point. I know this from experience. These people are not easy to push around.
But if there’s one thing bureaucrats like to do, it’s to push people around.
And the second reason I believe the Dutch farmers are being so singled out is precisely because they are so efficient and successful. Their failure will cause Europe to become far more dependent on food outside the continent. The Netherlands is the world’s second-largest food exporter, but if these farm buyouts go through, that’s going to change.
Europe will become dramatically more dependent on foreign food supplies. The longer a nation’s supply chain, the more things can go wrong; the more middlemen looking to get their slice of the pie. This will end in less choice and less quality for the people of Europe. A group of people dependent on outsiders for its food supply is in no position to argue with any kind of mandates, no matter how ridiculous.
Totalitarian leaders have known for a long time that the key to breaking a culture is to break the farmers. In Anne Applebaum’s book Red Famine, the author discusses the deliberate destruction of the Ukrainian peasant class by the Soviet Union. They systematically starved millions of peasants to death, then resettled the abandoned lands with either Russian farmers or other displaced ethnic minorities within the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union may be gone, but lovers of central planning are still with us.
They don’t really try to hide it. Just head to the World Economic Forum’s website, watch some of their videos, and read some of their articles for yourself. I feel like the “You Will Own Nothing” article has been beaten to death, but it’s worth taking the time to really understand. Read the article, and picture the “outsiders” in your mind. They sound a lot like farmers.
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Despite three years of on-again, off-again protests, Dutch government officials are proceeding as planned, getting ready to begin forcing farm closures. But the farmers haven’t given up. A new political party has been formed within the Netherlands, the Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB), hoping they can move through official channels to prevent forced closures.
The leader of the new party, Caroline van der Plas, compares the problems in farming with the problems with vehicles. “So if we need to reduce CO2, nitrogen, ammonia, let farmers here come up with innovations to make production cleaner. That’s what we did with the car industry: we didn’t end up with fewer cars, but the cars we have are cleaner.”
It’s important to look at history and confirm that the collectivization of agriculture has never worked and generally leads to mass starvation.
I sincerely hope that the Dutch can find a peaceful solution that does not involve destabilizing Europe’s food supply.
With high food price inflation in most high-income countries and increasing food insecurity in low-income countries, any plans that involve knowingly decreasing agricultural output are currently indefensible.
The Dutch farm protesters, who really have been mostly peaceful despite their extreme provocation, deserve support in their effort to continue in their vocation, one of the oldest vocations on earth.
For those of us outside the Netherlands, we need to think about the farmers in our own lives. If you don’t know where your food comes from, find out. Food is pretty important, and if we aren’t producing much ourselves, we need to learn about and appreciate the issues faced by the people that do. The Netherlands is a tiny country with a huge footprint in terms of global food production. If the farm seizures go through, it will affect us all.
What are your thoughts?
Do you think the Dutch government will follow through with taking over the farms? What do you think about the regulations that are being created? Do you think this is really about the environment? And finally, could you foresee such a thing happening here?
Share your opinions about this in the comments.
About Marie Hawthorne
A lover of novels and cultivator of superb apple pie recipes, Marie spends her free time writing about the world around her.
It is sad to see farmers being attacked by round after round of regulations. The Netherlands may be ahead of us in regulatory strangulation of farming but keep watching…
food production is endangered… So is real education…
Just keep in mind what happened to the intelligencia anywhere totalitarianism takes over. Real teachers, producers, ex-military who are patriots, older people with knowledge and skills ect. are all endangered species. Anyone who may dissent can disappear. Since religious leaders also historically stood for real human rights and free speech they will be undermined into the appearance of obsolescence or incarcerated for standing up to regulation. Food has often been the starting point of controlling people since we disappear without it. Without sufficient land ownership in the hands of the people it’s easy to manufacture famine. All you need are regulations.
I have been watching this one for awhile.
Marie is right. Unless the government is preparing to take the time to transition from commercial to organic/regenerative they are going to go the way of Sri Lanka.
Will they be able to feed their own people? Or see double digit food inflation, more so than we are seeing now?
This is the kind of thing that could devolve into real violence. Not some 3rd world country, but in the EU.
Ask yourself also why Bill G. is owner of 3/4 farmingground..
“This is the kind of thing that could devolve into real violence. Not some 3rd world country, but in the EU”
Probably in the EU. Not here. And I won’t get into why I know not. What I will do is provide a very, VERY, small list of how easily American farmers are bought (paid off)out.
Paying farmers not to produce milk https://www.nytimes.com/1986/03/23/nyregion/us-offers-dairymen-a-buyout.html
Paying farmers not to farm
Paying farmers underwater in FSA loans not to farm
Like I said, small list. I could write an article and submit it to Daisy for her consideration. My point is, America’s “farmers” aren’t who people want to think they are. We’ve been educated. We’ve been turned into businessmen. Been told that “cash flow” and “debt management risk allocation” is what makes a modern farmer a farmer to be looked up to.
Well, O-key-do-key, then…
“Cash flow” is the slave train that feeds the “debt management risk allocation” that land-grant colleges pump through extension services propaganda while wide-eyed tree-hugging youth line up in front of Production Credit lending stores for 60% money backed by USDA guarantees.
They’re taking -outright- in the Netherlands. Here, most all will get in line to get out. Why? Because it’s all bullshit. And American farmers have been educated and indoctrinated into it.
Loyalty..? To whom? For what? Cheap food is what you wanted America. Well, you sowed the wind, now you will reap the whirlwind.
Nope. Prepare kiddies. When your tummies are grumbling look outside at your bass boats, four wheelers, jet skis, snowmobiles, pics of the trip to Disney that you took loans for @9-19% interest and, yet, bitched about $3 milk.. but don’t look to me. I’ll be busy looking after my neighbors.
Sorry, 1MJH. Open rant. Not directed at you.
Thinking on it, if I were a farmer in the Netherlands, I would not sell to the government. I would not use fertilizer to avoid any government penalties, and plant half of what I would normally produce. Watch the price of food soar, and sell high. Or at least enough to break even. Watch the backlash from the populace for high price of food and what the government does.
Mr. Jarhead, I do not believe the Dutch government will give them an option. My understanding is an offer will be given and the farm taken if said offer is accepted or not. If I am wrong and they can refuse to sell, then your idea is an excellent one.
I have no idea what the dutch government will do, but if they seize the farms, they will be proving they are fascist goons.
The farmers said there farms were not for sale and the government said they will be bought for a fair price period.
I hope they will keep standing for their rights and keep resisting gov. controls.
Said it forever, this is about CONTROL…
Could it happen in the US? Absolutely. Because Americans are as rebellious a lot of rabble as anywhere in the world, ‘They’ always try things in other places first, to see how they go over. They test weapons in other countries, ‘plandemic’ protocols, and out right land theft. I think all those Dutch farmers should plant tree saplings, Oak and Pine, if they can afford to wait, or food trees, and only use compost, no chemical fertilizers.
This is NOT a Dutch government plot. It´s a CHINESE plot to take over every productive hectare in the whole world. They produce 2/3 of the greenhouse gas with their obsolete industrial park. It´s THEM who should be shutting down factories and driving their people to farm their countryside.
Take Bill Gates’s 270K+ acres of farmland spread out across 13 states first. Then I’ll decide what I’m going to do.
The farmers have been spraying manure on gov buildings, which is colorful, but they need to walk neighborhoods, persuading city individuals by the thousand that their food comes from farms and if they tolerate this government overreach, some of them will starve to DEATH.
And somebody needs to tell “environmentalists” and “climate”-gullibles that carbon dioxide is the basis of FOOD–for everything. CO2 + H2O +sunshine, in a green plant yields sugar and oxygen. The plant turns the sugar into everything else. Protein content is measured by nitrogen–what does that tell you about the true intentions of those pushing for a reduction in nitrogen?
Climate gullibles also need to find out that 20th century paleontologists found proxies to estimate past CO2, O2, temperature, etc. levels. Maximum variety and abundance of living things is found with HIGHER temperatures not lower. This is why we usually vacation with the palm trees, not the glaciers.
Destroying carbon dioxide is an attack on EVERY LIVING THING. Satan is at the head of this, wanting to cause the TOTAL extinction of the human race, along with our pets, livestock, ALL the whales, giraffes, beavers, frogs, fish, plants, trees, tulips, ferns, even most of the one-celled organisms.
People need to grow up and wake up.
The only reason for ANY government to do this is SOCIETAL CONTROL. In Venezuela they realized they could control the society at gunpoint, thus, no need to seize farmland. They watched people quietly get in line for hours or days (I myself had to be in line for over 4 hours each time) without going into a civil war. They realized they could grab whatever they could, and people won´t move a finger to avoid it because of the risk of getting kidnapped by masked thugs and shot in the head.
60+ years ago, my old man never used ANY artificial fertiliser whilst he fed/educated 8 kids on a small holding in the centre of Holland. Even these relatively poor sandy soils were teeming with worms and Bacterial & Fungal life forms. Soils were biologically ALIVE!!! We certainly did not have everything we wanted BUT certainly had everything we needed. And that included university education when desired by a few of the siblings – including me.
In those days, the bird-life was of a good volume (currently very depleted) whilst driving during a warm “Summer Night” would deliver a windscreen full of “Bug Guts”. Rather than reduce the “Tixic Load” on nature in an effort to re-establish such part of ecology, the Politicians & Environmentalists prefer to re-introduce wolves. Whilst, romantically, this is a great idea, such actions “Reek” of disaster in densely populated areas.
As I confirmed some 3 years ago, little do the Dutch comprehend these facts as the changes have been gradual and the eradication of these vitally important parts/chains of the natural ecology is not noticed and/or reported on!
The farm, 60 years ago, generated no waste as the economy was “Circular” and waste – like manure – became a resource. Similar to the techniques employed by Joel Salatin.
Whilst I do not believe that factory farming is viable, not desirable, in the Netherlands OR elsewhere on the planet, a government enabling a return to a modernised version of past times would certainly have the potential to resolve the issues Rutte is claiming to be a problem.
HOWEVER, such a solution would not achieve the goals of the un-elected Dictators representing the WEF Commissars.
Like others, it must be recognised that the issue is not nitrogen & carbon but purely CONTROL!
Great to see the farmers kick up such a large opposition and hope that the general “Men & Women” will rise behind them & support them.
SHAME on the Dutch cops!!!
More men need to be “real men” not just a small percentage like now. They need to lead communities, stand up for family and future generations.
I have only one thing to say about it because it’s pretty obvious what the government is trying to do to you and remember governments don’t produce anything so there is only ONE solution. You just need to start hanging them or you’ll end up losing everything to these people and you will really end up owning nothing and THEY’LL be happy.
You are absolutely right! Governments produce nothing; they can only take, and then only by coercion. Violent civil disobedience historically has been the only answer to the tyrannical governmental model. Anything else is just wishful thinking.
It’s just another part of the world democide project.
Violent civil disobedience is the only thing that will get their attention. Anything else is just wishful thinking. The response must be equal to the threat. That’s why end-arounds just won’t work here in the USSA. Too many gun owners just waiting for Open Season on the globalists and their liberal lackeys.
CO2 is a problem they say. Now, Ni is a problem. If I remember my Biology right, Noth Nitrogen and CO2 are plant food for most Flora… so their whole “Sky is Falling” hysteria is a crock of Lies.
The people of Netherlands should throw out these people who wish to steal lands. Next they will steal your homes in cities. There’s no end to these fools.
They’re testing this out on a little country where people can’t and won’t fight back very well before expanding it elsewhere. This is consistent with how they are doing everything tyrannical they think they can get away with, wherever they think they can get away with it.
Croatian government is preparing to still Adriatic cost line (first 50m) from their owners. Law is currently prepared for all us to see…
The fools! They’re killing the golden goose. Or they’d like to at least. But as the saying goes, everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the mouth. Or the guillotines get rolled out again…
Yes, I think the Dutch government will take over these farms. I think that because this is not about global warming it is about global control period. It is also about depopulation. They don’t care how the masses are reduced as long as they are reduced.