After a widespread boycott of farmers’ clubs, there is still a broader delegation looming over the conversation with nitrogen broker Johann Remix. LTO arrives, FDF has suspicions and Agractie starts calling Remkes.
Call it a little editorial: Bart Kemp, Agractie’s foreman, will speak to Remkes on the phone on Monday. So it’s not about the content, says Kemp, it’s about the invitation that Remkes sent. “He sent out an invite and he wants to know what I’m thinking.”
So far, Agractie has always been hesitant about a conversation with nestor VVD, who has a bad reputation in the sector due to his role as lead author of the “Not Everything Is Possible” report. It stipulates that the agricultural sector must achieve a nitrogen reduction of 50 percent by 2030, which the Cabinet has adopted.
Kemp’s invitation makes no guarantees, but it could be the first step on the way to the discussion table. On Friday, Remkes will receive ministers and farmers’ organizations for the first time, followed by nature and county clubs and entrepreneurs the following week.
Nitrogen targets release
Agractie leader Kemp says the conversation only makes sense if the government leaves current nitrogen targets. According to Kemp, “negotiations with kdw will stand or fall”, the critical deposition value. This is a complex term, but an important one: it is the nitrogen standard that underlies the entire government’s policy.
kdw is a measure of how much nitrogen a nature reserve can tolerate for a long time without the risk of harm to the ecosystem becoming significant. Kemp (and other farmers’ organizations) want this nitrogen standard out of the law, because he finds the measurements inaccurate and also believes the measures say nothing of the state of nature. “It’s not good, it’s not good.”
Where there is a will there is a way
However, Kemp doesn’t close the door completely: “If Rota calls me and says we’re going to sort this out and only leave the room when we’re out, I’ll take part. Politicians make the laws, and kdw has to go. Wherever there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Kdw leads to resentment
However, this kdw is what all nitrogen plans are built on, much to the chagrin of interest groups. The Dutch Agriculture and Horticultural Organization (LTO) is also calling for the nitrogen standard to be removed from the law. The LTO is also calling for farmers to be given more time because, according to the club, a 50 percent reduction by 2030 is not possible.
Foreman Mark van den Auever said Saturday that the Farmers Defense Force (FDF) wants a live broadcast of the talks between the LTO and Remkes. “We have no confidence that the LTO represents our interests.” He went on to say that “the LTO can agree to whatever it wants, but if the FDF says there will be no peace, there will be no peace.” The Remkes spokesperson doesn’t like live broadcasts: the speaker expects that it won’t benefit the quality of the conversation.
Meanwhile, the FDF is considering the question this week of whether it also wants to accept Remkes’ invitation. Sita van Kempema, the club’s secretary, says there are requirements for such a conversation at all. She also believes that Kdw should be removed from the nitrogen law. “As long as this is not for discussion, there is no point in talking.”
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