Rob and Irene’s business must reduce 47 percent: ‘What farmers feel is pure impotence’ | Bredatoday


THE TETERING – Not a day goes by without a peasant protest taking place somewhere in the Netherlands. Since the government announced the new nitrogen card, farmers have intervened en masse. And that’s not surprising, Rob and Irene Snoek think. They own a dairy farm with a farm shop in Teteringen. The nitrogen map states that they must reduce by 47 per cent. In other areas, it is even 95 per cent. “What farmers feel is downright impotence,” they say.

On June 10, 2022, the government’s nitrogen map was published. This map is part of the new nitrogen policy that aims to map out the excessive amounts of nitrogen that end up in Natura 2000 sites. The card indicates per. area where the percentage of farmers must reduce. And it varies from 12 to 95 percent.

Rob (38) and Irene (36) remember the moment they saw the card for the first time. “The card was something of a surprise,” Rob explains. “The only two Natura 2000 sites we have to take into account are Biesbosch and Ulvenhoutse Bos. Biesbosch is far away and the wind almost never blows from us in the direction of Ulvenhout. So I actually figured we would get one reduction of 12 percent. ” But that turned out not to be the case: on the map, which Rob and Irene ‘just’ had to look up on the net like everyone else, it was stated that the farms in Teteringen should reduce by 47 per cent, and one thing is certain for Rob and Irene : their farm can not continue to exist with half the number of cows.

Rob and Irene both come from Teteringen and both come from a farming family. Irene’s father is a pig farmer. Rob took over the company from his father, who himself had taken over from Rob’s grandfather. “It was originally a business with cows and pigs, but my heart is really with dairy cattle. I run the farm with about seventy cows. The farm shop we opened in 2017 is really Irene’s thing. ” When Rob and Irene were young, there were still more than thirty farmers in Teteringen. There are now only eight left. “If we have to reduce 47 percent, even more companies will disappear,” Rob says. “The reason the government signed on to the 47 per cent has nothing to do with the vulnerable Natura 2000 sites. It turns out that the Holland Nature Network is also included in the distribution. In our case it is Lage Vuchtpolder. Our farm has been there since 1965. But we must now make room for a nature reserve that has only existed for 8 years and which used to always be agricultural land? It feels very unfair. ”

But the biggest pain point for Rob and Irene lies in the fact that the plans are only aimed at farmers. Cities and industry are not included in the nitrogen map. They follow later. “The farmers really want to think along. Does the Netherlands have such a big problem? Then we have to solve it. But it must be done together. You can not let 47,000 farmers pay for everything, “says Irene. Rob adds: “In the end, the citizens will also feel this, I am convinced. The government makes our country extremely dependent on imports. You can already see what it does to the prices when the war breaks out somewhere. “

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Rob and Irene in the stable – Hanneke Marcelis

Rob and Irene support the farmers’ protests. “It is good that the farmers are making themselves known. We like to tell our story, because we really believe that when people hear the whole story, they get a better understanding of the situation of farmers. And we could really use that support. We have never driven anywhere with the tractor, but we have often gone to The Hague and Den Bosch. ”

Protests are running more and more out of control. They are accompanied by violence or destruction. But Rob and Irene want to emphasize that many protests are peaceful. “The protest day in Strø was fantastic. But we also understand that some farmers are really desperate. Farmers working in an area where a 95 percent reduction has been signed are simply told that their business is over. For their passion. And not only that. They also get a professional ban. They are never allowed to start a farm in Holland again. As if you’re some kind of criminal. It really does matter to a person. ”

Rob and Irene try to share their story as much as possible. For example, banners are hung on the company, the talk in the farm shop is constantly about the problems around the farmers and it will definitely be a topic of conversation during the open day, which they arrange on 9 July. “In fact, we do not necessarily like that kind of attention. But we must now. Because the peasants’ disappearance from Teteringen? We must not let that happen. “


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