After the cabinet announced measures last week to reduce nitrogen emissions, the agricultural sector also presented a plan to reduce nitrogen emissions on Wednesday afternoon.

To reduce nitrogen emissions in agriculture, the Landbouw Collectief (Agricultural Collective), a joint venture of more than ten parties from the agricultural sector, is considering all kinds of measures to reduce the amount of ammonia contained in manure.

It is striking that the agricultural sector believes that the space created by the reduction of nitrogen emissions should not be "sold" to other sectors. "Otherwise an erosion of the sector would result," the report says (pdf).

"The saved space can also be used to make business growth possible, so that there is again perspective for all agricultural businesses and for the young farmers of the future," says the Agricultural Collective.

Innovative stalls must reduce nitrogen emissions

The collective has divided the measures between dairy farming, the pig and poultry sectors. In the poultry sector, for example, other litter on the floor of the shed can cause a decrease in nitrogen emissions.

In dairy farming, allowing more cows to run outside means less nitrogen emissions. As a result, the manure does not mix with urine, which causes additional nitrogen emissions due to chemical reactions.

More innovative stables with, for example, other air washers or other floors can also lead to a decrease in nitrogen emissions.

The Landbouw Collectief also proposes to add less protein to livestock food, because that also ensures that manure contains less nitrogen. The latter measure is already being taken by the government.


Why does nitrogen cause so many problems in the Netherlands?

Agricultural sector: Measures cost 3 billion euros

According to the Agricultural Collective, an amount of almost 3 billion euros is needed to implement the measures, which are for both the short and long term. Half a billion euros is needed for the short term.

The remainder can be spread over five years. "The condition is that the fund is filled with government resources from outside LNV (Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, ed.) And is therefore not at the expense of the regular resources available for agriculture," the report says.

Many construction projects are standing still

Nitrogen can cause damage to protected nature reserves. That is why, for example, in construction projects where extra nitrogen is released, nitrogen emissions must be reduced elsewhere.

Until the end of May, building permits were granted on the basis of the Nitrogen Approach Program (PAS), but the Council of State drew a line through this. As a result, many construction projects are now standing still.

In order to reduce nitrogen emissions in the short term, the government decided that soon all day motorways should not drive faster than 100 kilometers per hour during the day. A specific date on which that measure will be introduced is not yet known.

No decisions have yet been taken on long-term measures.


The farmers' strike went like this: "Fewer, fewer nitrogen rules!"

"Agriculture can be part of a solution"

According to RIVM figures, the agricultural sector accounts for more than 40 percent of nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands.

"Agriculture is not the cause of the impasse, but it can be part of the solution," says the Agricultural Collective.

The parties from the agricultural sector argue that costs incurred by farmers, for example in the construction of innovative stables, must be reimbursed.

There should also be a threshold value for nitrogen emissions, so that some projects in the vicinity of nature reserves can continue as normal.

The Agricultural Collective wants to quickly get together with the cabinet to come to a solution.

See also: The damage caused by nitrogen: 'Nature becomes a fast food restaurant'