Agriculture and nature: ‘There are many opportunities’


NIJ BEETS What to do with farmers near the Natura 2000 sites? They know Van Oordt’s Mersken. Nature has been ‘between the ears’ of the farmers in this area for years. They would like to have a monitoring network in the area to measure the actual nitrogen precipitation.

They were also part of a series of actions against the proposed nitrogen policy in The Hague. For this policy is also catastrophic for Frans Postma from Tijnje and Durk de Vries from Beetsterzwaag. Their companies are located close to the Van Oordts Mersken Natura 2000 site, between Terwispel and Beetsterzwaag. On the infamous card, they are also enrolled in a 70 percent reduction. But they are not among the tough ones among the protesting peasants.

They prefer to look ahead. To how to move forward. They have also been working on this for some time and have responded to the area-oriented approach that the province of Fryslân announced earlier. “It has to come from below. Agriculture and nature within each other are necessary ”, says Durk de Vries. “But if the 70% reduction is due to every single farmer, it’s up to all of us to stop.”


To give the first impetus to the area-oriented approach, the initiators Stichting de Nije Boarn, the agricultural nature associations ELAN and LTO Opsterland received a provincial grant. Hielke de Vries from Langezwaag and Tine Bijstra from Hoornsterzwaag, both closely linked to agriculture, initiated kitchen table discussions with more than fifty dairy farmers. To map the companies’ current situation, hear how the farmers see the future and whether they will participate in an area-oriented process from below.

The farmers examined are in the area west of Van Oordts Mersken, from Nij Beets to Gorredijk, the north side of Langezwaag and towards Lippenhuizen. Later followed discussions with farmers around Beetsterzwaag, who rented land from the Cornelia Foundation and the Van Harinxma family.


The inventory gave clear conclusions. The companies are all land-based with a size of fifty to one hundred hectares. With the exception of a few companies, there is a successor or the farmers are still young. The companies have reasonable house grounds. The positive consequences of land reclamation in the 1970s and 1980s are clearly visible.

“From what I notice, most farmers are happy with the scale of the IT business,” according to Hielke de Vries. “See their rights more on optimizing earrings of what they have than on expanding.” Many of the companies already have experience in nature management; they use, among other things, hundreds of hectares of natural land owned by Staatsbosbeheer. Postma: “The agricultural nature association De Alde Delte is already active. The natures sit by the peasants in this area for a long time between the ears. See white net tears. “

More at the helm

Farmers want to see together how they can move forward in the Natura 2000 area. Postma: “Nature-inclusive buorkje, said that The Hague likes wool, in which we all met for years. It does not matter that I see the future economic perspective untouched. “Farmers in the area want more control. For example, there are many questions about the Aerius calculation model used for nitrogen precipitation.

Hielke de Vries: “The farmers want to increase the amount of nitrogen. In the Grinzer Vlagtwedde runs in project where they do. The farmers want to know that. ” They are already getting dirty hands within Opsterland’s municipal policy. Last week, 18 of the 21 city council members voted in favor of a proposal asking the city council to make the province aware of this poll. Durk de Vries: “It is important for the approval and the draachflak.”

Farmers also see opportunities in managing the water level themselves, in consultation with Wetterskip and in relation to meadow bird management or in preventing the subsidence of peat meadow areas. And let’s not forget the energy transition. Postma: “She clearly eats it in combination with nitrogen reduction. The farmers rounded Nij Beets seriously thinking primal fertilizer fermentation. ” Hielke de Vries, also VVD councilor, also sees a role for Opsterland municipality. The subdivision plan for rural areas must be ready for this, for example by making the space for buildings on agriculture larger than the one and a half hectares it is now.


Postma experiences that there is enough enthusiasm among the farmers to jointly reduce nitrogen emissions to a certain reasonable level. But then with the use of innovations, a series of stops and recognition of what has already been achieved. For example, in the southeastern part of the province, about two thousand hectares of agricultural land have already been converted into nature. That the farmers are already doing a lot of nature management on hundreds of hectares of land owned by Staatsbosbeheer e.g. “The provincial authorities say that Frisian farmers have already emitted 28 percent less greenhouse gases since 1990.”

And there are also clearly fewer cows in some areas. Durk de Vries: “In the eighties, Viennese there were tusks De Sweach and A7 about 400 look, which is within 200 hours.” In the area-oriented approach, Postma draws attention to another trend reversal. In the past, politics was always supposedly without a shadow effect. Nature initiatives stopped at the border of the area, with no consequences for the neighboring farmers. “It’s always a talk. Now the farmer who is closer to nature needs to bleed more. It can not be. ”

The report from De Vries and Bijstra is sent to the province. In the follow-up phase, the farmers want to work closely with the plant management organizations. Because they can not live without each other, the farmers believe. The experience is now mixed with Staatsbosbeheer, a major player in the area. Postma: “The spirit must also be ripe for cooperation.” Durk de Vries emphasizes that the Cornelia Foundation and the Van Harinxma family want to work closely with their tenants for this plan. “So that we of both the world fan ha and there future for us pristine.”

The Postma family milks 115 cows on Rolbrêgedyk between Tijnje and Nij Beets. They manage 85 hectares of land, including a lot of natural land owned by Staatsbosbeheer. The De Vries family milks 115 cows on Beetsterdyk between Beetsterzwaag and the A7. They manage 67 hectares of land, partly leased land from the Cornelia Foundation and the Van Harinxma family.

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