Farm Progress

Mike Pearson tells listeners about unrest in Europe over some new farming regulations.

March 20, 2024

Mike Pearson tells listeners how the last 18 months have seen a surge in farmer protests across the European Union.

Farmers and particularly groups in Netherlands have bene pushing back against their emissions targets.

For the first time in Dutch history, groups pushed their prime minister to resign.

In Poland and other eastern countries, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent closure of that country's grain exports pushed for more Ukrainian grain over the land border lowering the grain prices for Polish and Bulgarian farmers prompting them to call for border closures.

But the most recent upheaval has been set off by the requirements of the European Green Deal Program-- a set of initiatives with the goal of making the European Union climate neutral by 2050. The set of goals originally outlined by reducing chemical fertilizers by at least 20 percent; reducing the use of pesticides and anti-microbials by at least 50 percent, restoring biodiversity on their land by 10 percent and increasing organic crop productivity 25 percent on cultivated land.

Accomplishing these goals would require big changes to the agriculture economy in Europe. The changes leave farmers wondering how they will make a living.

Farmers say they are sick of the bureaucracy. They feel the government wants them to work in the fields all day and do book work all night.

The pushback is making an impact in Brussels with the European commission announcing a proposal is on its way with a series of concessions.

The concessions will center around the rule to leave land fallow and the crop diversification rule.

The proposal has not been made public yet and will be presented to EU members this week. Voting is set to happen on the rules March 26.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Mike Pearson, farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

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