January 29, 2023

Germans Banned From Using Effective Manures in Shift Toward ‘Green’ Farming

New rule in Northern Rhine-Westphalia is a “step in reverse, ” the region’s minister of agriculture says

Farmers within Germany’s most populous condition must severely rein within their use of effective fertilizing methods under a new set of limitations apparently aimed at making the industry more  “ green. ”  

As of Thursday, farmers within North Rhine-Westphalia are required to make use of 20% less nitrate fertilizer in areas deemed in order to have  “ problematic”   levels of the chemical – the designator that now has a third of the province’s usable farmland.

The rules appear to be unpopular with some nearby farmers and political authorities. Erich Gussen, vice leader of the Rhenish Agricultural Organization, warned that the new regulations would mean a lower quality of crop, hinting farmers would not accept the rules without a battle.   “ There is excellent indignation among the farmers, which really upsets us! ”   he told German outlet Bild on Thursday night.  

“ If a wheat field needs 200 kg  of fertilizer for optimal yield, farmers would now be forced to make use of 40 kg  less. That means a drop in yield and the quality of the wheat will suffer! ”   Gussen explained.

The timing of the measure – coming right before Christmas with little advance notice – also seems likely to maximize inconvenience, as efforts in order to plead for exceptions prior to the local bureaucracy will be delayed due to vacations and other technicalities.  

North Rhine-Westphalia’s minister of agriculture and consumer protection, Silke Gorissen, described the last-minute expansion of the low-nitrate areas as a  “ stage backwards. ”   Gorissen claimed she had long sought exceptions for component farmers who had already proved themselves responsible stewards of the land.

A similar initiative underway in the Netherlands in the last several months offers met with a high degree of local resistance. Amsterdam will be reportedly seeking to buy out or even forcibly shut down as many as 3, 000 farms in order to fulfill EU environmental targets, even though  farming advocates in the nation claim they have some of the most advanced, sustainable farming techniques proven to humanity.  

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