European Farmer Protests: Farmers Are the Canaries in the Climate Change Initiative Coal Mine

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The German farmer protests started 2024 off with a bang. Last week, irate farmers prevented Germany’s Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck from getting off a ferry as he returned from vacation.  This week, German farmers are taking to the highways.  They have blocked Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate to protest the government’s removal of the agricultural diesel subsidy.  The farmers and their supporters plan to continue protesting throughout the week of January 8. And they’re not alone. Farmers in France are also protesting, and we saw last year farmers in the Netherlands protesting.

What started it all in Germany?

The controversy began with an argument over what to do with debt accumulated during Covid.  Germany’s notoriously strict rules regarding debt creation were lifted during Covid, for the same reasons so many rules were suspended here in the US.  After the pandemic officially ended, the German government found itself with unused debt and decided to put the money toward its Climate and Transformation Fund.  

The opposing party coalition sued, saying that the German government is not supposed to shift money around like that.  This forced the groups supporting climate initiatives to find money elsewhere.

So, the German government decided to end some agricultural subsidies to fill the budget gaps.  They originally planned to end tax breaks for agricultural vehicles and diesel subsidies, but after a series of protests in December, announced they would continue the vehicle tax breaks and phase out the diesel subsidies over a wider time frame.

The German agricultural sector doesn’t want to hear it. They feel that they are being unfairly targeted.  In an interview with Reuters, German trucker Joachim, protesting with the farmers, said it wasn’t just the diesel subsidies. It was the cost of everything going up  

“What the government is doing to us, increasing the road tax, increasing the price of diesel, and so on—no one can afford this anymore.  Everyone is affected, and the problem is, everyone going shopping notices it and has to suffer.”

Similar sentiments were echoed by other protesters.  Redacted’s Clayton Morris traveled to Berlin to report on the German protests, and his January 8 show revealed footage and brief interviews with Germans braving the frigid weather to show their support for the farmers.

The farmer protests are really about something much larger.

Despite their being painted as “right-wing extremists” by official media, the protesters have all insisted that they are merely realists.  They see government money being spent on climate initiatives and foreign wars that do not benefit the population at large, and they want the general public to wake up to what’s going on.  

Europeans have had their lives upended over the past ten years by a combination of massive refugee waves and industry-killing climate regulations.  Any party, like Alternative for Deutschland (Afd), that attempts to refocus attention on the needs of average European citizens as opposed to the global “responsibilities” the political class thinks it has, gets painted as far-right.  Figures in German government, including opposition party leaders and the German Institute for Human Rights, are trying to ban AfD, even as it is rapidly on its way to becoming Germany’s most popular political party. 

The German farmers are not alone.  The scale of the protests is massive.  Many truckers have joined in, as they have also been affected by changing tax policies and diesel pricing. Polish truckers are driving in to support their German friends 

Similar farmer protests have been raging in other parts of Europe.

We’ve discussed the Dutch protests at some length, but France has had its own share of excitement.  French farmers have been protesting rising diesel and fertilizer prices, late subsidy payments, increased regulation, and competition from imports.

In November, French farmers began turning road signs upside down and, in December, sprayed manure on government buildings in Dijon and Quimper.  In Toulouse, farmers doused the local government building with liquid manure, then made a pile of trash, hay, and car tires at the entrance and set the whole thing ablaze.  Upon completing that task, the farmers went back to work on their farms because that’s what farmers do.

This quiet return to work after such a dramatic act of protest shows that these are not hooligans looking for wanton destruction.  They don’t want to “burn it all down,” only the policies that are ruining their livelihoods.

Yet European politicians have found it easier to call out the protesters as extremists rather than engage with them.  German politicians insist that the protests are illegitimate.  After his ordeal on the ferry, Vice Chancellor Habeck did not even address the farmers’ legitimate complaints. He said his biggest concern was for civil servants who couldn’t afford police protection.  

There’s an enormous divide between politicians and ordinary citizens.

I’m not sure how much more disconnected from his citizens a politician can get.  The current situation reveals the divide between the political class making the decisions and the farmers and truckers who have to live with them.

The political class, both within Germany as well as the Eurocrats from Brussels, is attempting to phase out the use of fossil fuels and is ending the subsidies partly as a means of doing so.  Do I wish agriculture was less dependent on chemical inputs?  Sure.  But expecting farmers to bear the brunt of the financial burden as the political class continues its lifestyle as normal is too much to ask.  

As trucker Joachim noted, average shoppers are feeling the pinch every time they go to the store.  While farmers and truckers are aware that Germany’s funding for globally-directed climate projects is related to increased prices, many consumers are not.  I suspect that part of the media’s push to paint protesting farmers as “right-wing extremists” has to do with keeping the average, non-farming citizen in the dark regarding the real reasons behind price increases.  

Unfortunately, farmers are fairly separate from most of the people who enjoy the fruits of their labor.  And the lifestyle is something many people don’t understand or sympathize with, even among those who consider themselves politically aligned with farmers.

Farmers are the canaries in the climate initiative coalmine.

For example, “voting with your feet” is a common theme on many libertarian websites.  Are you a conservative stuck in a liberal state?  Then just pick up and move!  To Texas, to Florida, to Tennessee, to anywhere you think you’ll fit in.  

That’s a lot harder for farmers.  Farming involves so much place-specific knowledge that picking up and moving means leaving behind a huge set of skills and insights that may not translate well to other locales. Running away from disagreeable politics is a far less realistic option for them.

And so, because of their reduced ability to shift their businesses around, farmers are the canaries in the coal mine, particularly when it comes to many of the items involved in Agenda 2030.

Germany and France both have ambitious targets for climate neutrality. They both plan to be fully carbon-neutral by 2050.  The German government intends to reduce carbon emissions by 55% by 2030 and the French by 50% by 2030. This is six years away.

Electric grids in Europe are simply not capable of powering this transition in the next six years.  Meeting these climate initiatives will require very dramatic reductions in quality of life, and the French and German farmers see it coming.

We’ve discussed the global smart city initiative before on this website. Berlin has been heavily involved in this movement since its inception.  The farmers aren’t protesting because they are greedy; they are protesting because they see how the destruction of their businesses fits a wider agenda.

Our way of life is changing dramatically.

Protesting farmers need to be heard and attended to, not dismissed as troublemakers.  The farmers’ and truckers’ rallies around the globe have been overwhelmingly peaceful.  I hope they stay that way. I think most people realize now that any violence will bring down the hammer.  

I also hope that more average citizens wake up to what’s going on.  Right now, people notice that stuff’s expensive; too many of them are not asking why.  You can’t force people to ditch their favorite news sources and listen to more worthwhile podcasts. However, thousands of farm vehicles on the highways and in the cities will garner attention.  I support what these farmers are trying to do, and I hope it works.  

What are your thoughts?

What do you think of the farmer protests in Europe? Do you think it will be enough to slow down detrimental climate change initiatives? Why aren’t there similar protests in the United States, or is it just a matter of time until it reaches our country? Do you think these farmers are doing the right thing?

Let’s discuss it in the comments section.

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.

Picture of Marie Hawthorne

Marie Hawthorne

A lover of novels and cultivator of superb apple pie recipes, Marie spends her free time writing about the world around her.

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  • The masses are rising up against the tyrannical, globalist few. This WILL be the demise of the tyrannical, globalist few.

  • Farmers are a symptom. The real door breacher for Agenda 2030 is CBDC. AfD is a reaction to this, as it is in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, and here in the States with Trump and MAGA. Predictable reaction to overreach. But Germany is de-industrializing too without Russian energy if they dont curb stomp their climate protestors to re-start thier nuke powerstations like France did during covid. This trauma is just starting globally.

  • I could write a sub article here in comments, but I won’t.

    Family farmers have been under direct assault here in the USA for decades. Farmers have been sucked into debt with cheap and easy credit from lenders (usda FSA, production credit, etc.) who said the farm needs to get big or get out, and “does your operation ‘cash flow’”?, if not tough shit for you. The government wants less family farmers and more corporate farms.

    In the eighties Reagan initiated the dairy buyout program . Reagan loved big business and told all the cheese processing plants if they wanted the government to keep the price of fluid milk artificially low and call it a “subsidy” they needed to find a way to make more money on less milk. In my home area in the twin tiers of NY/Pa this put every town cheese and milk plant out of business. Cull the farms and slaughter the working man. Yea, that’s right I’m a liberation because of what Reagan did to farmers. Also in the eighties the entire poultry industry was consolidated. So, Go big or get out small family farmers. You miserable nuisance piece of crap, says the government approved lenders.

    In the nineties the entire hog industry was consolidated. Also, big corn suckered farmers into planting every available acre with gmo corn for ethanol production. Prices rose farmers were making money.. then, BAM!.. yank the rug out from them by buying cheap corn from Brazil and Argentina and collapse the corn prices. How do you like that family farmers? You want some more..? Ok…

    But, don’t worry stupid farmers, your sugar-daddy Uncle Sam has a new program for you. , that’s right. We’re gonna pay you NOT to farm your land. No down side to this, right?

    If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. The 40 acre farms are going to have to feed this country very soon. The 200-400 acre farms are going to have to support the 40 acre guys. Networking is the only way I can see to hold onto my heritage.

    I have to stop now. I promised not to write an article.

    • I agree 100%. We better start the use of critical thinking and realize the govt is NOT helping anyone but themselves and taking us into even deeper slavery. I mean that for everyone no matter what color you are. We better wake up and band together just like Europe.

      • You’re welcome Black Forest. My farm is over in Ulysses. Come over and see the new processing plant (slaughter house and pet food fabrication). We’d be proud to serve you.

        Next summer there will be a farm animal petting area for the kids next to the remote product kiosk.

        • Thanks for the invitation! Ulysses is a part of our Memorial Day cemetery tour. I like your idea about networking. We’re doing some habitat improvements on our property over the next few years.. planting red oaks, water catchment, food plots and pruning orchard apple. I thought about growing a larger crops of beets and turnips for seed to make retail craft deer seed mix on our south-facing 5 acre field. Test plot my cousin grew last year attracted several nice 8pts. There was actually a big buck contest at Corner Hardware this year and several new sportsman’s stores in town. I heard that a butcher operation is moving into Brubaker’s Farm. Good signs. Hope to see you soon!

  • I have detected a pattern here. They are doing whatever it takes to avoid people being independent and self-reliant. Mainly restricting and controlling fuel and food, inherently related, we know that. No matter what country you are in.
    The world will be soon under the “Chinese model” as my friend the commie loves to say with a madman grin. The American Continent is their objective. They are one war away (Taiwan) to take control over a good part of Asia. This is a very serious situation and the Western world just watches the butterfly flying while mvslm refugees are taking the streets in Europe calling for a Jihad, Russia expands the border towards Crimea at gunpoint, and the infamous PC Ch increases the societal control over its population with technology and “social credit”.

    • Many years ago, I had a chance to visit the home of a college friend. His father was a hog farmer. He had some very interesting things to say.

      • He refused to take out loans on his farm. It pained him to see farms up on the block, that had been in their families over a century, because they couldn’t pay back the loans that they had taken out for expansion.

      • He refused to buy more acreage even though the ag extension agents were claiming that his farm was too small. (My brother married the daughter of an ag extension agent.) Because he had no loans, he found his income to be sufficient.

      • Whenever his machines were not in active use, they were stored in the machinery shed. Even though they were small and old by then standards, they were still good. He also found in cheaper to give an old machine an overhaul, then to take out a loan to get a new machine. He also found that some of the older machines were better built than the newer ones.

      • Several Amish farmers had moved into the area in the previous decades–the ag extension agents said, “We don’t talk about the Amish because they’re too poor.” The local farmers said, “We don’t talk about the Amish because they’re rich.” Turns out the Amish had a net income per farm equal to net income of the large, industrial farms. The ag extension agents looked at gross income, the local farmers to net income.

      Lessons learned:

      • Don’t take out loans.

      • Take care of what you have first.

      • Be satisfied with what you have.

  • I live in the Netherlands, about 20 miles from the german border….. so the Germans farmers are our neighbours. To keep it simple: news about anything in Germany is scarce here through official news channels. It is kept away from the masses…. we read a bit of some of those things afterwards…

    This situtaion is actually showing how widespread censorship is…with most of “our” press and news outlets in the hands of a Belgian WEF billionare and his gang…the shit they write…we call their personell “Whorenalists…” because the write lies and get paid for it, not having a concience or morals. Paid liars….

    When Germans go to the streets than things are going very bad, not just bad. Never seen such governement compliant people…it they protest…
    Also the truckers are joining and in some towns the people are joining the strike/ protests…it is very big and politicians are very afraind now…in the Netherlands many not reelected politicians are running to get jobs in other continents…German politicians will soon follow…their mess of things , they call it Green CO2 management, is not repairable and Germany is making a free fall in the world of counties and their wealth…the immigration of African and Arab people is also deadly for Germany, and France, The Netherlansds and the rest of Europe. We lose who we are and we become a mess, not a world of enrichment. France is beautiful and rich in 2000 years of history…you can buy a small castle 800 years old for the price of a medium car…but the village will not have French people living there….just Africans of many nations doing…France is becoming an African twilight zone …Germany an Arab one….

    All in Europe is carried by a social security system….when that breaks and the free money does not come….hell will be everywhere…and groups will be plundering….we are close to that situation…just a spark that catches tinder in the right place…

    To much idiotic change, to quick and not thought trough plans, to many immigrants and no need for them to adapt. That kills anything…

    So about Germany: hope Germans will write about what is going on because even living next to Germany we get next to no news about them…

  • These protests are a symptom of a disease created by the political class that has spent the money taxpayers have entrusted to them and decided it is the citizens fault for not paying enough taxes. Some useful idiots actually believe the climate change narrative whilst others see it as an opportunity to extract more taxes with other scientists prostituting themselves to the money train of grants and subsidies.
    Farmers have always struggled through the cycles of plenty and scarcity, bounty and drought or flood.
    It is not my intention to minimise or demean the hard working farmer.
    It bears consideration that globally (in the first world at least) many are dependent on government programs, cost share grants, crop subdidies, fuel subsidies. Any business that is dependant on the teat of the government for their business model success is on unstable ground.
    I respect the wisdom of Joel Salatin, self confessed ‘lunatic farmer’, who writes in his book – “Folks This Ain’t Normal”,
    “In half a century, we’ve never bought a pound of chemical fertilizer and don’t apply pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, or any other -cide to our plants and animals. Our animals don’t do drugs. Instead, we move them daily in a tightly choreographed ballet from pasture spot to pasture spot. They aren’t confined in concentrated animal feeding operations. The herbivores recieve no grain and the omnivores recieve local, non-transgenic modified organism supplemental grains.”
    Joel grew up on the same farm and farmed mostly as his father did askewing the high debt of borrowing for expensive machinery, and profited enough to support his mother, his children and now their families who participate in the farm. How does a ‘lunatic farmer’ do that? His story should be on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

  • My new residence is 10 acres designated agricultural. I’ve planted a new orchard of almost 100 mixed tree fruits and hazelnuts plus fruit bushes and vines on a 1/2-acre area and opened a new garden area on about 1 full acre. I hate what I see being done to our farms. I’m determined to do something different.

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