The number of very large factory farms in the Netherlands has gone up sharply, despite government efforts to reduce the scale of the intensive farming sector, broadcaster NOS said on Sunday.
Figures from national statistics agency CBS show the number of big farms, known as megastallen or mega farms in Dutch, rose 3.7% between 2021 and 2022 and their number now totals 1065.
A mega farm has more than 7,500 pigs, 120,000 laying hens, 220,00 broiler chickens or 2,500 calves.
The growth in the number of very large agricultural businesses reflects consolidation in the industry. The number of smaller farms fell 3.4% in 2022, and has gone down nearly 15% over the past five years.
Farm minister Piet Adema told NOS the shift was an “extremely undesirable development”.
“We need to move to a different scale of farming in the Netherlands, which is a real family firm,” he said. “These giant barns are not a part of this approach.”
Farmers organisations argue that the bigger farms are new, cleaner and better able to reduce livestock-related pollution.
“The old barns are being demolished and replaced by more sustainable, new barns,” Linda Verriet of the pig farmers association POV said.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation