Farm buy-outs nobble Netherlands nitrogen

Farm buy-outs nobble Netherlands nitrogen

: PIG FARMS: Slurry produces huge quantities of nitrogen Photo credit: CC/Szodorai Imre

MORE than 750 farmers in the Netherlands accepted an offer to sell up and assist the government’s nitrogen pollution strategy.

Nevertheless, it will take months to learn whether the previous government’s plan is ever put into practice and the farmers receive cash under the buy-out scheme, the RTL Nieuws television news service said.

Excessive nitrogen, usually the result of synthetic fertiliser use or the breakdown of large volumes of animal manure and slurry produced by intensive farming, has been a problem for many years in the Netherlands.

The government has responded by introducing measures for industry, agriculture, transport and the construction sector in order to reduce nitrogen and improve the quality of protected nature areas.

“The aim is to develop tailor-made packages for the different regions, which will lead to healthy ecosystems, clean water and achieving climate targets,” the government said.

It has now introduced two schemes designed to cover all pig, poultry and dairy farms located near environmentally sensitive areas, as well as livestock farms defined as “peak polluters.”

Approximately 3,000 farms would be eligible for payments of up to 120 per cent of their value if they shut down, although but ministers have admitted they are aware that most will choose not to sell up.

The previous government allocated €975 million to the scheme, with payments averaging €325,000 per farm. The deadline for applications from installations in protected Natura 2000 areas ended on November 30, although heavily polluting farms can apply until the beginning of April next year.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at