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The Netherlands is investing €227m in sustainable agriculture by 2040

Enabling Dutch farmers to make their businesses more green and sustainable by 2040 is a commitment the Cabinet wants to conclude with farmers, conservation groups, other governments and stakeholders. It’s an important element of the agricultural agreement we’re thinking of. Funds are already available for farmers who want to transition to nature-inclusive and greener farming in the short term. Of the €226.6 million, the majority of €64 million will be used for ‘independent advice to individual entrepreneurs’.

Stakeholders must work “peacefully and confidently” towards the 2040 nature, climate and water goals. Agriculture Minister Piet Adema wrote in a letter to the House of Commons that he hopes to conclude the deal in the first quarter of 2023.

With the Agreement on Agriculture, the Cabinet will follow the recommendations of VVD eminent Johann Lemkes. I hope it will continue.

Adema’s predecessor, Henk Staghouwer, announced in June that stakeholders such as food processors and supermarkets have six months to reach agreements related to food prices. Otherwise, the government could have done it for them with legislation that the Cabinet threatened at the time. Legal action is still looming over the market, the minister warned.

Nitrogen emission problem

The nitrogen problem really revolves around two nitrogen compounds: nitrogen oxides and ammonia. The agricultural sector mainly emits ammonia. Nitrogen oxides are released when fossil fuels are burned, such as in transportation and industry. Nature needs nitrogen, but too much precipitation can affect fragile nature, in some cases including soil acidification and loss of biodiversity.

The old Nitrogen Approach Program (PAS) can release nitrogen before action is taken to improve the quality of nature. In 2019, the National Council ruled that this is not in compliance with the European rules for the protection of protected Natura 2000 territories.

The government also wants to cut nitrogen in other sectors. When Adema took office last month, he said too often the focus was on farmers. The government also wants to strike deals with the 50 largest nitrogen polluters in the industry for stricter permitting rules and faster sustainability.

Will Peak Nitrogen Emissions Accept Acquisition?

By next fall, it should be clear whether there is enough enthusiasm for the lump-sum payment system to discourage the most polluting farmers. The offer to peak polluters will start in April 2023, and it will become clear in the fall whether the nitrogen emission targets are achievable. If not, the government will unfortunately have to resort to coercion and the forced acquisition of peak emitters, said Christian van der Val, the cabinet member in charge of nitrogen policy.

Peak emitters are agricultural companies and other commercial enterprises that emit relatively large amounts of nitrogen near vulnerable natural areas. They need to cut this, not only to protect the environment, but to create more capacity space so that the government can grant permits to farmers who are now farming illegally. I have.

The previous Nitrogen Approach Program (PAS) allowed some organizations to form or expand a company on notice only, but no permit was required. However, the policy was declared illegal by the National Council. The Cabinet wants to legalize the PAS notification system as soon as possible. Failure to do so could result in the company being fined even if it acted in accordance with the rules that were in effect at the time.

Remkes called on the Cabinet to significantly reduce the nitrogen emissions of the largest peak emitters as quickly as possible and in the most targeted way possible. This can also be achieved through innovation, relocation and “widespread switching” to greener forms of farming with less impact on nature, the Cabinet said on Friday. Many peek he should stop the emitter. “The starting point for the whole approach is and will continue to be voluntary,” emphasized Van der Wal again.

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