Thursday 17 October 2019

Many farmers are prepared to talk about quitting in wake of nitrogen chaos

Photo: Depositphotos.com

A clear majority of Dutch farmers are doubtful about whether or not their business can continue and four in 10 say they are prepared to talk about closing down, if there is a good compensation package, broadcaster NOS said on Wednesday.

The figures come from a survey of 6,000 readers of farming magazine Nieuwe Oogst, which looks at the impact of the recent court ruling on nitrogen emissions on the agricultural sector.

Thousands of construction and other projects are currently in doubt after a supreme court ruling said current methods to deal with nitrogen emissions such as ammonia and nitrous oxide do not go far enough.

A government committee is due to publish its recommendations for dealing with the nitrogen crisis later on Thursday.

The survey found pig farmers in particular are keen to talk about quitting. Some 7% of those taking part in the survey said they would quit now if the compensation package was good, and 66% said they would be willing to consider doing so.

Earlier this month, the Liberal democratic party D66 said the Netherlands can solve its nitrogen crisis by halving the size of the nation’s livestock herd.

By reducing the number of chickens on Dutch poultry farms by 50 million and cutting pig numbers by six million, nitrogen emissions would plummet and residential construction can resume again, the party says.

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