Dutch Farmers Pledge Protests Over Government Plan To Seize Farmland

Dutch farmers loudly pledge not to go down without a fight after the government’s mediator advised for forcibly relocating operations and seizing up to 600 farms that are the heaviest nitrogen producers.

The Dutch government agreed this week to adopt the plan of former deputy prime minister Johan Remkes in order to comply with the EU’s nitrogen standards. This met stiff resistance from the nation’s farming community.

Mark Van den Oever, leader of the Farmer’s Defense Force, declared that farmers will resume taking their fight to the streets. Further, he noted that the Dutch agriculture industry is already among the “greenest” in the world.

The Dutch government has pledged to halve the country’s nitrogen emissions by 2030, a drive many farmers protest will force them out of business.

The nation stands as the world’s second largest agricultural exporter, but experts say the intensive methods used and great population density result in nitrogen levels that are not in compliance with EU standards.

Government officials believe that the goals of the drive to slash nitrogen emissions are necessary to protect the environment and agriculture itself.

Protesting farmers counter that they have already invested much into cleaning up their operations and that the new measures will be destructive to their livelihoods.

Estimates are that, in reaching the 2030 goals, more than 11,000 farms have to close down and 17,000 more must limit production.

One dairy farmer, Henk Schoonvelde, sees a different motivation in the government’s actions. He believes nitrogen emissions are being used as an excuse for farmers’ lands to be taken away to alleviate overcrowding in the rest of the country.

He explained that “we have land and they want to use our land.”

Thousands of farmers took their equipment to the highways this summer to protest potential land seizures, blocking traffic and shutting down commerce. They accused the government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte of globalist loyalties and imposing “far too much on business.”

The government claims it is forced to act in response to the EU’s Natura 2000 plan. This edict requires all member nations to shut down industry or farming from areas officials declare to be of ecological importance.