Farmers won’t be forced to change animal feed in emissions debate: report

Agriculture Minister Carola Schouten decided to scrap a measures that would ban farmers from adding extra proteins to animal feed, in an attempt to reduce nitrogen emissions, sources in The Hague told newspaper AD. The government is now looking for other ways to reduce nitrogen emissions, to create room for construction projects.

Schouten planned to implement the feed measure on September 1st, banning farmers from adding extra protein to their livestock feed. Farmers add protein to livestock feed as concentrate, but the excess protein is not all absorbed by the animal. It is instead released as nitrogen-rich ammonia. The plan resulted in multiple farmer protests, with farmers saying they fear for the health of their animals.

A source in The Hague told AD that the measure has now been scrapped. According to the source, this had nothing to do with the protests. But new calculation showed that the measure would not have as big an effect on nitrogen emissions from livestock as hoped. The Minister will confirm this in a letter to parliament later on Wednesday, the source said.

This means that the government must now find another way to reduce nitrogen emissions, to allow for construction projects this year. The Council of State declared the Netherlands’ nitrogen approach program invalid last year, which means that the government can no longer compensate for nitrogen emissions caused by construction projects afterwards. Instead, nitrogen emissions must first be cut somewhere else, so that new construction doesn’t result in more emissions.