In the meantime, I think about all the new things to come: the new year, a new coalition agreement, a new cabinet. What does this mean for us? For our colleagues? There is uncertainty. Will I still be a farmer tomorrow? And how? Many questions and it is searching for the answers.
We must not forget the earning model of farmers in the transition to circular agriculture, which the cabinet has in mind. What does that revenue model entail? Installing an IV to the government to keep the farmer alive? Offer the farmer all kinds of compensation for social tasks such as promoting meadow birds and perhaps raising the water level in a peat meadow area to prevent peat oxidation? In a different way will farmers start to control more mechanical weeds, use organic fertilizers instead of fertilizers and so on?
I am concerned about the following sentence in the coalition agreement: ‘This covenant forms the legal basis which will come into effect in the coming cabinet term for animal husbandry in balance with public health.’ Are we going to make Dutch legislation much stricter than European legislation to realize animal husbandry?
One thing I know for sure. If much stricter legal standards are introduced without an import ban for products from elsewhere, then the farmer will be the victim. The Dutch farmer cannot compete with the foreign farmer if there are too many additional legal requirements in Dutch legislation. Our cost price is then too high in relation to other countries.
I believe that within chains and with social organizations we can take steps forward together. This can be done by working together instead of working against each other. Searching for solutions together. Together we look at what we mean by nature. Working together to give animals a better life. I can well imagine that nature changes and yet can be very beautiful and good. How can we practically fulfill that animal-worthy life? What goals can we achieve together? Together we can also discuss the conditions under which.
An example of how not to do it: Better Life 1 star pig. There will be a higher Dutch statutory surface area requirement for fattening pigs. Result: the farmer receives less for his pig. So all Dutch pigs have gotten a little better, but the Beter Leven farmer gets less for his pig. Because he gets less compensation. This is thanks to stricter Dutch legislation. In fact, however, nothing has changed for the Better Life pig.
We can only prevent this by within chains to make good agreements with each other. About the requirements you will set for the living environment for animals, for the cultivation of crops, etc. Only then can we take steps. Then consumers can pay for the extra value they receive. It is strange that more and more demands are made on farmers. It seems quite logical to me. Yet the earning model for farmers remains a hot item.
For the first time, there is scope to set a farmer’s price independently of the world market price. It’s in its infancy, but it can grow into a gem
Still, I see bright spots on the horizon. Take a look at the premature new chains for Albert Heijn and PLUS when it comes to pigs with Better Life one star. About the Beter Leven 1 star for chicken. For the first time, there is scope to set a farmer’s price independently of the world market price. It is in its infancy, but it can grow into a gem.
For ourselves, I hope that in the new year we can also take new steps for Hamletz, Annechien’s free-range meat. We must be able to sell all parts of our pig well in order to become economically viable. We are looking for another customer, especially for the hams. That must be doable. I also really want to understand our consumers better. Why do they buy, how can we persuade them to change their habits and choose more sustainable/animal friendly?
What I know is that Randstad politicians can never pour this out on agriculture. It is necessary to stand with one’s feet in the clay in order to be able to properly articulate the thoughts that live there. You have to be in pain yourself to know well what the ultimate way out is or what the ultimate goal can be.
So for the new year I hope my heart doesn’t have to bleed because of the energy transition, the polarization and the crazy high energy price. I hope that together we can set goals for nature and animal welfare without the farmer losing out. I go for a good life for all: the farmer, the animal and nature. And I hope that more gems will grow in 2022 of which Hamletz is one.
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‘My heart is bleeding’ – Annechien ten Have about a nice life for all – Foodlog