The Dutch are known for being incredibly easy going, rational, and patient people, not ones to let their emotions run away from them. So when you see protests to this degree, you know things in the Netherlands have gone to a new level. The most interesting thing about the whole story, is just how few people in the mainstream media are talking about this. Why are farmers in the Netherlands so upset? They say plans by the government to reduce nitrogen emissions will harm their livelihoods.
The unrest among Dutch farmers was triggered by a government proposal to slash emissions of pollutants like nitrogen oxide and ammonia by 50% by 2030. Provincial governments have been given a year to formulate plans to achieve the goal. The reforms are expected to include reducing livestock and buying up some farms whose animals produce large amounts of ammonia. Farmers argue they are being unfairly targeted and are being given no perspective for their future.
According to LTO, there are nearly 54,000 agricultural businesses in the Netherlands with exports totaling 94.5 billion euros in 2019. What is going on now in the Netherlands is incredible because it is (at the time of this posting) relatively unknown to rest of the world. Places like United States, Europe and Australia are filled with citizens who would likely be sympathetic to the farmers plight and its connection to climate restrictions, all due to “lowering” nitrogen rates. The idea that around 1/5 of Dutch farms need to be shut down because of nitrogen has many people labelling this as “insane.”
That would mean the end for about 30 percent of the Netherlands farmers.
Farmers there have decided they are not having any more of this and the protest are vast. They have to this point shut down up to 80% of the country. According to on the ground reports, it is now impossible to cross the border from the Netherlands into Germany. The farmers and their allies used tractors and trucks Monday to block roads and supermarket distribution centers. They have blocked roads with their tractors, heaps of manure, basically in whatever way they can to force attention to this issue. Yet still, the mainstream media has no coverage of this seemingly self-created crisis by the Dutch government.
Placards and banners affixed to the tractors read messages including, “Our farmers, our future.” A tractor at another protest, in the northern town of Drachten, urged people to “think for a moment about what you want to eat without farmers.” The umbrella organisation for supermarkets called on police to take action and warned of possible shortages on supermarket shelves.