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Why the News Block on the Plight of Dutch Farmers?

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10 minute read

From the Brownstone Institute

BY Michael AmundsenMICHAEL AMUNDSEN  

God made the world, but the Dutch made Holland. This truism has guided Dutch identity and its republican virtue. When the ingenious Dutch reclaimed land from the sea it was for farms and these farms and farmers have fed the Dutch people, Europe and the world for centuries.

The picture displayed here is Paulus Potter’s famous work The Bull.

Created in 1647, Potter was 22 when he painted it and not quite 30 when he died. Renowned for its massive size, detailed realism including dung and flies and as a novel monumental picture of an animal, The Bull is understood as a symbol of the Dutch nation and its prosperity.

The Dutch Golden Age resulted in part from the creation of the Dutch Republic carved out by overcoming Spanish rule in the Netherlands. The little Dutch Republic became a global naval power and cultural force. The Dutch were classical liberals and believed in individual liberties like freedom of religion, speech and association.

The Dutch Republic was noted for economic vibrancy and innovation including the emergence of commodity and stock markets. The newly minted bourgeoisie spurred the first modern marketplace for artists to sell their work and freed them from the necessity of commissions from the Church and aristocracy. This is reflected in the subject matter of much Dutch Golden Age art with its depiction of everyday life. Potter’s painting is from this era.

But his work reveals another truth. The Dutch Golden age was impossible without its farms. Food is the foundation of any successful civilization, which is why the news that the Dutch government plans to shut as many as 3,000 farms for the sake of a ‘’nitrogen crisis’’ is so puzzling.

As Natasja Oerlemans of the World Wildlife Fund-Netherlands recently stated, ‘’We should use this crisis to transform agriculture.” She went on to state that the process will require several decades and billions of euros to reduce the number of animals.

So, what in fact is the issue with nitrogen and Dutch farming?

The nitrogen crisis is a bureaucratic and muddled affair which is now and will increasingly impact all of Dutch society. In 2017 a small NGO, Mobilisation for the Environment, led by long-time environmentalist Johan Vollenbroek, went to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to challenge the then current Dutch practices that protected natural areas from nitrogen pollution.

In 2018, the ECJ decided in a court ruling that the Dutch legislation, which allowed business to compensate for increases in nitrogen emissions with technical measures and restoration, was too lenient. The Dutch high court agreed with the ruling. In so doing almost 20,000 building projects have been put on hold, stalling the expansion of farms and dairies, new homes, roads, and airport runways. These projects are valued at €14 billion of economic activity.

Farming is intensive in the Netherlands because it is a small country with high population density. According to Science magazine ‘’Dutch farms contain four times more animal biomass per hectare than the EU average.’’ But they also point out that ‘’Practices such as injecting liquid manure in the soil and installing air scrubbers on pig and poultry facilities have reduced ammonia emissions 60% since the 1980s.’’

These mitigating systems are seen as insufficient in light of the court rulings. Ammonia is part of the nitrogen cycle and is a byproduct of waste from farm animals.

The great concern of environmental bureaucrats is the so-called ‘’manure fumes’’ from livestock waste. Like methane from farting cows, manure fumes are the big thing and katzenjammer of the movement on meat and dairy.

Dutch farmer Klass Meekma, who produces milk from the goats he raises said recently, ‘’The nitrogen rules are eagerly being used by the anti-livestock movement to get rid of as many livestock farms as they can, with absolutely no respect for what Dutch livestock farms have achieved in terms of food quality, use of leftovers of the food industry, animal-care, efficiency, exports, know-how, economics and more.’’ Meekma’s goats produced more than 265,000 gallons of milk in 2019.

In many ways, Dutch farmers are the victims of their own success. Because Holland is small, farmers have needed to be innovative in the use of space which accounts for the higher levels of ‘’animal biomass’’ compared with other European countries. Success in agricultural practices and food production has produced profits and a strong economic sector for the Dutch economy. Remarkably, the Netherlands is the second largest food exporter in the world.

The biggest push against Dutch agriculture comes from the climate change community and minister for nature and nitrogen Christianne van der Wal. She said in a letter to politicians in 2021, “There is no future (for agriculture) if production leads to depletion of the soil, groundwater and surface water, or degradation of ecosystems.” She has announced new restrictions to cut nitrogen emissions in half by 2030, to meet international climate action goals.

Nobody wants runoff from farms harming streams and wildlife. But the focus on manure fumes; that is, nitrogen and ammonia seeping into the atmosphere and impacting the climate seems far more tenuous. Primeval Europe was like Africa’s Serengeti, teeming with huge herds of ungulates like aurochs. Did their farting and waste ruin the climate?

The climate is changing. The climate has always changed. Bronze Age Europe, a particularly fecund cultural period, was markedly warmer than today.

It is curious that the farming sector is the focus of rollbacks while other polluters are being treated differently. Farmer Meekma states,

“Since then (the court rulings) our country has a so-called nitrogen crisis. It’s ludicrous that the national airport Schiphol Amsterdam and lots of industrial companies have no nature permits, and farmers are now being sacrificed to facilitate these other activities.”

“It’s a real shame how farmers are being treated in the Netherlands. They are being pushed out to make room for industry, aviation, transportation, solar fields and housing of the growing numbers of immigrants.’’

Most of the “saved” nitrogen emissions from government plans will be used to offset the increased emissions from building 75,000 houses. Only 30 percent will lead to real emission reductions.

Dutch Prime Minister and WEF luminary Mark Rutte acknowledged that the move on farming would have “enormous consequences. I understand that, and it is simply terrible.”

There are many historical examples of political pressures on farming as harbingers of disaster, from Ukraine in the Soviet Union to Zimbabwe. Both were breadbaskets and exporters reduced to famine. Controlling food production is something that political ruffians always want to achieve. The nitrogen crisis is a struggle of urban ideologues versus traditional lifeways and rural self-sufficiency. Due to the war in Ukraine and supply-chain disruption from the covid pandemic, many people around the world are facing starvation. This is not the time for Europe to harm its best agricultural producer.

Dutch farmers are hip to when a nudge becomes a shove. The anti-meat ideologues want humans to subsist on grass cuttings and Bill Gates’ lab-made gunk. Dutch farmers feed the world. Their plight is ours as well.

The nitrogen crisis has the waft of so much bullshit.

Author

  • Michael Amundsen

    Michael Amundsen, PhD, is an academic and writer who has taught at universities in Europe and the United States. He has contributed to the Financial Times, the Christian Science Monitor and many other publications.

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Agriculture

While Europeans Vacation, Denmark Attacks Livestock Farmers With Cow Tax

Published on

From Heartland Daily News

By Andrew Weiss

Economics aside, this policy will have no effect on global temperatures. Even if the entire European Union halted all emissions (including livestock) the global temperatures would be reduced by only 0.12 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, assuming the highest climate sensitivity to carbon.

As Europeans generate greenhouse gas emissions by driving or flying off on their long summer holidays, Denmark is trying to lower those emissions by taxing cow burps and flatulence to combat climate change.

The Danish government believes that taxing methane produced by animals will improve the lives of citizens by lowering global temperatures. Therefore, beginning in 2030, livestock farmers will be taxed $17 per ton of carbon dioxide-equivalent emitted by their livestock. That tax will increase to $43 by 2035.

The average cow emits the CO2 equivalent of about three tons per year in methane, so each cow will cost farmers $50 in 2030, reaching about $125 by 2035.

Other livestock such as sheep and pigs are also subject to the methane tax, but they emit less methane because of differences in the chemistry of their digestive systems.

But two professors—William A. van Wijngaarden of York University in Canada and William Happer of Princeton University—argue that restrictions on methane emissions are “not justified by facts.”

CO2 currently makes up about 420 ppm (parts per million), which is 0.042% of the atmosphere. Methane is a much lower 1.9 ppm, or about 0.0002% of the atmosphere.

Methane is increasing in the atmosphere at a rate of about 0.0076 ppm per year, while CO2 is increasing at a rate 300 times faster, or 2.3 ppm a year.

The methane molecule is about 30 times better at trapping heat than the carbon dioxide molecule. Therefore, methane contributes about one-tenth the warming of CO2.

Effect on the Economy

Denmark’s new animal tax will raise food prices. Prices for beef and milk will go up, percolating throughout the nation’s economy. Denmark’s economy contracted 1.8% last quarter and the inflation rate is 2.1%, but expect to see inflation increase with the new animal tax. The tax will disproportionately affect middle-income earners and the poor.

At the same time, farmers will see smaller profit margins. Some farmers will reduce their numbers of cows and shift to other animals or grain. Others might sell their farms and change occupations.

In America, the majority of beef farms are run by small operations. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 54% of farms with beef cattle had fewer than 20 cows. On such a farm, raising a cow costs about $900 per year.

A U.S. methane tax identical to Denmark’s would be the same as an additional 15% tax on cattle. This would be devastating to small ranchers who are already pinched by increased overhead costs.

The Danish policy taxes carbon at $43 per ton. This so-called social cost of carbon is priced even higher here in America, and is an easily manipulated price tag that the government puts on carbon emissions.

Last fall, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed $190 per ton as the social cost of carbon to make its policies seem worth the regulatory burden. If taxed at this price level, a 20-cow operation would owe Uncle Sam an additional $11,000 per year.

Effect on Carbon Emissions

All 1.5 million cows in Denmark account for about 0.1% of the European Union’s annual 3.6 billion tons of greenhouse emissions.

The chart below compares greenhouse gas emissions by Danish cattle to emissions in all of Denmark and in the entire European Union.

When it comes to the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, CO2 emitted in Denmark is no different than CO2 emitted anywhere else in the world.

If Danish lawmakers are concerned about CO2-caused climate change, the cost of the tax policy needs to be weighed against the global effect on emissions.

In 2022, India emitted 189 million metric tons more than it did in 2021. This is more than four times the entire carbon footprint of Denmark.

Effect on Global Climate

Economics aside, this policy will have no effect on global temperatures. Even if the entire European Union halted all emissions (including livestock) the global temperatures would be reduced by only 0.12 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, assuming the highest climate sensitivity to carbon.

These numbers are calculated using The Heritage Foundation’s climate calculator, which uses a government climate model. (You can use the calculator for yourself here.)

From Denmark to California

Although such policies may seem unlikely to take hold in freedom-loving America, similarly intrusive regulations already have been implemented across multiple sectors. These regulations affect everything in the U.S. from large-scale power plants and the automotive industry to everyday household items such as gas stoves, water heaters, and lawn equipment.

In some states, including New York and California, building codes now prohibit gas hookups in many new construction projects, denying residents the right to decide for themselves what energy sources to use.

As of Jan. 1, it became illegal to buy gas-powered lawn equipment such as lawnmowers, leaf blowers, or chainsaws in California. This law will cost landscaping businesses over $1 billion and raise the price of landscaping services, causing some to lose their jobs and business closures.

It is time to stop perpetuating the fairy tale that taxing cow burps will reduce global temperatures. Such regulations only increase food costs and inflation in general, making poverty even worse.

Andrew Weiss is a research assistant for domestic policy at The Heritage Foundation.

Originally published by The Daily Signal. Republished with permission.

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Agriculture

Their Strategy in the War on Food

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute

By TRACY THURMAN  

In my previous two articles, we covered the global war on farmers and the culprits behind this agenda. Today, we will dive into the tactics these organizations use to foist their dystopian vision on the rest of us.

Perhaps you remember Event 201, the pandemic simulation run in late 2019 that served as a dress rehearsal for the 2020 Covid response. Such simulations have been used in the War on Food as well. Take, for example, the Food Chain Reaction Game, a 2015 wargame that simulated the time period from 2020 to 2030. Cargill and the other participants have removed the Food Chain Reaction Game data from their websites, but Cargill’s version was archived by independent researchers, so you can still see it here.

In the simulation, the decade brought “two major food crises, with prices approaching 400 percent of the long term average; a raft of climate-related extreme weather events; governments toppling in Pakistan and Ukraine; and famine and refugee crises in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Chad and Sudan.” When the game ended, its organizers had imposed meat taxes in Europe, capped CO2 emissions, and instituted a global carbon tax. The time period of the Food Chain Reaction Game handily coincides with the 2020 Covid crisis and ends with the culmination of Agenda 2030. If you don’t think those dates are significant, you aren’t paying attention.

The parties behind this simulation include the World Wildlife Fund, the Center for American Progress, the Center for Naval Analyses, and Cargill. Note the participation of US military and intelligence-linked organizations in this simulation, much as they appeared throughout the Covid power grab. Cargill, as I mentioned before, is one of the most powerful members of the global Big Ag cartel and have excelled in crushing independent farmers globally to establish total control of the food supply. The Center For American Progress is a Soros and Podesta-affiliated think tank.

The World Wildlife Fund has a shady Malthusian history dating to its eugenicist founders like Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, co-founder of the Bilderberg Group; transhumanist Julian Huxley (brother of Brave New World author Aldous Huxley); and Britain’s Prince Philip, who said he wanted to be reincarnated “as a deadly virus, to contribute something to solving overpopulation.”

Note that the measures these conspirators concocted – meat taxes and a global carbon tax – have nothing to do with increasing the food supply to end famine – much as Event 201’s participants obsessed about vaccines and controlling misinformation rather than providing effective early treatment for disease. To state the obvious, neither simulation is really about solving hunger or viral contagion. They are designed to game out how to ram an agenda down the throats of an unwilling populace.

Both exercises are classic examples of Hegelian Dialectic, the problem-reaction-solution strategy whereby a problem is created or used to stimulate public demand for a solution. The solution always involves pre-planned actions or legislation that never would have passed public approval before the problem was created. To quote Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s Chief of Staff, “Never let a serious crisis go to waste. By that I mean, it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

The goal of the Food Chain Reaction Game simulation and the global elites who share this vision is simple but devastating: the controlled demolition of the current food supply and supply chain network – not to end factory farming and replace it with regenerative, earth healing agriculture – but to replace it with a global, centralized, fully surveilled, and tightly controlled food system based on lab-created and industrially processed so-called foods, with little dietary choice and abysmal health outcomes for all but the elites, using climate change as the excuse for it all.

As Bertrand Russell predicted, diet will not be left to individuals, but will be such as the best biochemists recommend.

If you’re new to this topic, you may feel that statement is hyperbolic. It is hard to grasp that there are people planning something this far-reaching and diabolical – it’s as far-fetched as a network of global elites using a lab-escaped virus as an excuse to destroy the economies of the world and forcibly inject billions with experimental poisons. But it is reality, and as the quotes from Bertrand Russell and Monsanto’s CEO hint, this agenda has been in the works for decades.

In my next article, we will look at some of the publicly acknowledged projects that are in the pipeline for achieving this goal.

Author

Tracy Thurman is an advocate for regenerative farming, food sovereignty, decentralized food systems, and medical freedom. She works with the Barnes Law Firm’s public interest division to safeguard the right to purchase food directly from farmers without government interference.

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