Despite a small geographical footprint, the Netherlands is the second largest agricultural exporter in the world.

They produce 10 times more per acre than American farmers, and also produce countless agricultural items we often forget about, like flower bulbs (they produce the most in the world).

The Dutch are known for their firm grasp on sustainable farming; using less water to grow more crops, and monitoring fertilizer and nutrition to eliminate excessive use of fertilizer. They produce more with less, and they are global leaders in food production, plant production, and agriculture.

Still, leading the world in agriculture sustainability and producing billions in annual profits from agricultural exports is not enough to appease EU bureaucrats. The Dutch government is moving forward with plans to buy and shut down nearly 3,000 Dutch farms to meet EU emissions targets. Farmers are offered fair market value for their farms, but if they choose not to sell the state will take ownership by way of a forced buy-out.

As the Guardian reported: “The Dutch government is offering to buy out up to 3,000 ‘peak polluter’ farms and major industrial polluters in an attempt to reduce ammonia and nitrogen oxide emissions that are illegal under EU law.”

The emission targets are part of the international EU mandate that demands member countries cut emissions of nitrous oxide and ammonia by 2030. It just so happens the Netherlands has a tremendous agricultural industry and because of this they have a tremendous amount of nitrous oxide and ammonia for their size.

In order to meet this mandate the Dutch government’s plan is to reduce livestock by a third (by 2030). They plan to reach that goal by buying out farmers; relocating targeted farms to areas the government deems appropriate, or reconfiguring farms into more sustainable farms. The latter makes the most sense, though it has yet to be seen if common sense even matters here.

The Netherlands is quite small and they have a massive agricultural industry, so you can see the conundrum at hand. Entrepreneurs, local politicians, and agricultural financiers have staked billions on Dutch agriculture, and because of such threats, farmers and agricultural professionals have been outraged and embroiled in contentious protests.

Meanwhile, the international media refuses to truthfully acknowledge the situation at hand, only reporting on farmer protests and activists, often blaming the protests on global right-wing organizations.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Decades of failed leadership in the Netherlands brought in countless failed policies. Now the easy target—in this case, the farmers—must take the hit. Instead of rectifying failed policy and procedures, the Dutch government is solely focused on allegiance to the EU and eliminating farms to keep in line with EU international agreements.

Additionally, decisions from last century created serious issues within the Dutch agriculture industry. As Energy Monitor reported, “In 1950, there were 410,000 agricultural companies in the Netherlands; in 2016, that number had been reduced to 55,000, the number of pigs in that period increased from 1.9 million to 12.4 million. In 1950, the average cow produced 4,000 liters of milk a year. In 2015, this had doubled to 8,200 liters.”

Clearly, the increase in livestock in the Netherlands has driven up emissions numbers, but the Dutch government allowed this to happen for a half-century. During the post-war period, the government and industrialists simply moved away from small-scale operations to large-scale agriculture, referred to in America as “Big Ag.”

Agricultural companies shrank in number while the amount of livestock exploded. Entrepreneurs were driven out of business and mega corps took over. Giant, globalist multinational corporations came into the Netherlands, consolidated the agriculture industry, increased protein production to maximize profits, and then retreated to less expensive and less regulated parts of the world. Now the damage has been done and the responsibility lies on the existing farmers. Quite disheartening.

I have attached a chart that shows the decline in agriculture’s percentage of GDP in relation to the nation’s aggregate GDP.

(Data Source: World Bank, ZRC Digital)

As I have argued for years, phasing out domestic ownership to allow for massive amounts of foreign ownership and following international mandates to the point of domestic industry destruction is not sound economic policy.

The EU should protect domestic industry in member states instead of targeting data points without taking geography, economy, and common sense into account!

Not even organic farmers are safe, with some facing drastic cuts to their businesses’ bottom line by way of reducing livestock. If the EU is targeting organic farmers you have to wonder who the next target will be. Organic farming is tough enough, let alone with anti-business bureaucrats calling the shots. We should not allow bureaucrats and politicians to destroy industry for personal or ideological gain.

What the Dutch are doing is no different than NAFTA in the 1980s and 1990s, when countless U.S. jobs were lost and wages were decimated for the benefit of cross-border investment and economic development between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The only difference is that the Dutch are doing this in the name of the environment. I desperately wish the left wing would stop using the environment as a scapegoat to hide totalitarian ambitions.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Chadwick Hagan


Chadwick Hagan is a financier, entrepreneur, author and columnist. He is a founder and director of numerous businesses and is a partner with investment banks Hagan Capital and Eaton Square Ltd. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and is based in Atlanta and London.

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