Farmers do not have to fear what Minister Carola Schouten (Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality) will have to stop their farming or that the herd will be halved in order to comply with the nitrogen ruling.
"I never said that there will be no shrinkage in the herd, but I do not find a generic halving justified," Schouten said in the parliamentary debate on her ministry's plans for the coming year.
"Is it about shrinking livestock or reducing nitrogen emissions? I believe in a combination."
The proposal to halve the herd comes from D66 and receives open support from the Party for the Animals and GroenLinks. But the farmers are furious about this statement and also a part of the Lower House, including coalition parties VVD, CDA and ChristenUnie, wants nothing about this.
It is clear that fewer animals need to be kept due to nitrogen emissions. "Nature also has limits," said Schouten. For a solution, only "a long breath" is required.
The point of departure is that farmers only quit on a voluntary basis. "We help farmers who want to quit. But there must also be a place for those who want to stay," the minister said.
At the insistence of the Party for the Animals and GroenLinks, Schouten admitted that, despite the voluntary basis, the shift in agriculture will sometimes hurt. "The choices are of course also felt on the farm yard."
Here too, D66 got the anger of the farmers back on its head by not excluding the compulsory closure of companies.
Warm rehabilitation of pig farming will start in November
Coincidentally or not by chance, a letter went to the House during the debate that the so-called 'warm rehabilitation' of pig farming will start in November and will last until 15 January 2020. 180 million euros has been made available for the scheme to stop a farm with the help of government money.
The plan was already announced in the coalition agreement in 2017 and is therefore not specifically aimed at reducing nitrogen in protected nature areas. The most important goal is to reduce odor nuisance in areas with a lot of livestock.
Thousands of projects are standing still
The method of compensating for nitrogen emissions from economic activities was rejected by the Council of State at the end of May because protected natural areas suffer too much. Since then, around eighteen thousand projects, from road construction to the construction of wind farms, have stopped.
A committee led by former minister Johan Remkes advised the cabinet on how to reduce nitrogen emissions. The reduction of the maximum speed and the reduction of livestock in the vicinity of protected nature areas are the most striking.
Last week, tens of thousands of farmers demonstrated at the Malieveld in The Hague because they believe that nitrogen advice is the umpteenth measure that hinders their work and puts it in a bad light. The farmers have announced that they will return to the Binnenhof on 16 October to demonstrate against the "remediation and demotivation" of their profession.