May 16, 2022

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30% less cattle?  'They shouldn't just count the tails'

30% less cattle? ‘They shouldn’t just count the tails’

About 110 kilometers away, in the Frisian town of Oldetrijne, Trienke Elshof thinks pretty much the same. Her dairy farm is about a mile from the nearest nature reserve, probably far enough away to not have to deal with a blanket purchase arrangement. “If you look around, most companies can get past that.”

According to Chouf, the government must solve the nitrogen problem primarily with the sector. “Just buying it is not enough. The government also says it wants to focus on making agriculture more sustainable, so focus on that. Farmers want change, but it has to be done within reason.”

She advocates for a balance between nature and agricultural activities, as well as for greater clarity about what the government is aiming for. “In 2016, we really had to deal with the phosphate rights regime. It’s damaged a lot. Let’s not start with the cows now. Reducing livestock shouldn’t be an end in itself, it’s about nitrogen. It shouldn’t just be counted Tail only…”

She hopes to pass on her dairy farm to the next generation. “We depend on that and I’m optimistic about it. But we are entrepreneurs. It shouldn’t be impossible for us.”

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