Farming associations say they are walking out of talks on cow feed

A farmers' protest in The Hague in October 2019. Photo: Molly Quell
Tractors on the Malieveld in previous protests last October. Photo: Molly Quell

Two Dutch farming associations have walked out of talks with the government about controlling the level of nitrogen-based pollutants in manure.

LTO Nederland and young farmers’ group the NAJK have said that they will no longer take part in discussions about the protein levels of cattle feed until expert reports have been completed, reports NOS.

Environment minister Carola Schouten has said she would put the government proposal and counter proposals to the environmental assessment agency Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving, to study their potential effects.

The ministry told NOS that these reports are expected to be completed in the second half of August, ‘and that is the moment to talk further.’

Farmers have been protesting since the start of July, saying that temporarily reducing the protein supplement ledutvels in milk cow feed for three months could harm animal health, and would cost them more. It is also associated with lower milk yield.

The government argues that in order to meet its pollution targets, the agricultural sector needs to reduce nitrogen-based pollutants; it says this would allow more emissions in sectors such as building houses to combat a national shortage.

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