The number of farms in the Netherlands has fallen from 120,000 to 77,000 over the past 15 years and farmers are currently leaving the business at the rate of some 50 a week, according to new figures from the national statistics office CBS.
Eight years ago, some 80 farmers a week were selling up, largely due to government buy-out schemes, the CBS says.
The figures coincide with the publication of farm minister Gerda Verburg’s vision to develop a completely sustainable livestock farming industry over the next 15 years.
The minister said she wants to work with covenants to ensure that livestock behaved ‘naturally’, had access to daylight, was vaccinated against disease and did not have their beaks or tails removed. Some 15% of Dutch cows, for example, are kept permanently indoors.
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