By MAX KEATING
Dutch farmers used tractors to block roads and supermarket distribution networks to protest government-mandated emissions reductions that threaten their livelihoods on Monday.
Over 40,000 farmers have taken to the streets in recent weeks to protest climate-related regulations that the Dutch ruling coalition itself concedes would force upwards of 30% of farmers out of business, DW reported. Farmers have dumped hay bales on roads, left manure outside government officials’ homes and blocked highways and other critical infrastructure to protest the regulations, The Associated Press reported.
“The honest message … is that not all farmers can continue their business,” the government said in a June statement announcing the new emissions targets. The farmers contend that they are being unfairly targeted by the regulations and losing out on their future prospects, the AP reported.
The Netherlands’ largest airport urged its travelers on Monday to use public transportation to get to its terminals amid fears that the farmers’ blockades would target airports, and fishermen have also blocked a number of harbors this week in solidarity with farmers, the Associated Press reported.
The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the present emissions reductions and resultant backlash trace back to a 2019 court ruling that found the Netherlands was not doing enough to protect its natural areas. Citing the ruling, the Dutch government introduced targets last month to halve nitrogen oxide and ammonia emissions, both of which are present in large quantities in livestock manure. (RELATED: ‘EPA Is Playing Politics’: Biden Amin Pushes New Regs On Farmers As Food Inflation Skyrockets)
The ministry told TheDCNF that it is working with farmers to “look at a new way of doing business with innovation, relocation, extensification and involving more nature in agriculture.”
Still, many farmers are disillusioned.
“We cannot invest. Our fathers, our uncles, cannot invest in the future. And so as young farmers we also have no prospect of … taking over a farm,” Marijn van Heun, a 23-year-old Dutch dairy farmer, told Euro News.
The Netherlands is the largest exporter of meat in the European Union and exported almost $100 billion worth of agricultural goods in total in 2019. The protests come as the world faces food shortages brought on by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and some fear that the ongoing supply disruption caused by the protests could increase prices in the Netherlands and beyond, Al Jazeera reported.
Over the weekend the Dutch government appointed Johan Remkes to lead talks between farmers and government officials responsible for crafting the emissions reductions regulations, the AP reported. Dutch farming lobby LTO described Remkes as “an administrative heavyweight with deep knowledge” of the issues and said it was open to talks with him, according to the AP.