3,000 Farms Shut Down to Comply with Environmental Rules

(RightIsRight.co) – In a shocking development that American farmers worry could come to the United States, up to 3,000 farms are getting closed down by the government of the Netherlands to comply with the European Union’s rules on nature preservation.

The Dutch authorities are seeking to reduce the number of farms close to environmentally sensitive areas while curbing nitrogen pollution as per EU requirements, The Daily Telegraph reported.

That is why they are targeting between 2,000 and 3,000 farms for closure, first by making the voluntary buyout offers to owners, then by pressing ahead with “compulsory purchases” if those are refused.

According to officials, the affected farmers would be offered buyout prices “well over” their farms’ value.

Earlier leaks of the Dutch government’s plan to tackle polluting businesses showed they would receive 120% of their farm’s market price, but the figure hasn’t been officially confirmed yet.

The Netherlands’ nitrogen minister, Christianne van der Wal, told the nation’s lawmakers last week that “there is no better offer coming” for the affected farmers.

She added that the government would feel “pain in the heart” if it had to make “compulsory purchases” of farms slated for shutting down.

The Netherlands, one of the 27 EU member states, is yet to comply with the bloc’s conservation rules, with half of its nitrogen emissions coming from agriculture.

According to the nation’s environmental agency, native species in the Netherlands are becoming extinct faster than elsewhere in Europe.

However, the report forecasts that the plan to buy out and shut down up to 3,000 farms would like “reignite tensions” with Dutch farmers.

Since 2019, every new nitrogen-producing activity in the Netherlands – such as farming and construction – has required a permit.

Among other limitations, government measures have prevented poultry, pig, and dairy farm expansions.

In previous protests against the government’s nitrogen reduction measures, the farmers have organized mass rallies, dumped manure on roads, set hay bales on fire, and picketed ministers’ houses.

The latest big farmers’ protest in the Netherlands was staged last month after thousands of tractors blockaded the roads, causing 700 miles of traffic jams in rush hour, the worst in Dutch history.

Dutch farmers say agriculture is “targeted unfairly” by the government plan to cut nitrogen emissions by 2030 compared with other industries such as aviation.

“[Trust in the government] has been very low for a long time [due to its] restrictions without perspective,” said farmers’ lobby group LTO Nederland.

“Of course, it is positive that a good voluntary stop scheme is being promised. But the stayers who are central to us will have many additional restrictions imposed,” commented LTO chairman Sjaak van der Tak.

The Netherlands Assessment Agency said last month that previous farm buyout schemes during the past 25 have not led to a significant reduction in cattle numbers.