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We, farmers, ask for a greener Green Deal

To: Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission European Green Deal, Janusz Wojciechowski, Commissioner for Agriculture

Dear President Von der Leyen,

Subject: we, farmers, ask for a greener Green Deal

Dear President Von der Leyen,

Next week you will decide on the EU Green Deal and Farm to Fork strategy, the future of the European agriculture. We urge you to make it as green and sustainable as possible.

We urge for clear and ambitious reduction goals for the amount of pesticides and artificial manure.

Also we urge you for more animal welfare: clear and set rules that will give each animal in the EU access to the outdoors, that ensure that they keep all their body parts while they live and to ensure that they experience wellbeing as well as good health.

We also urge you to force supermarket chains European wide to change their ways and help consumers to change their diets to healthy more local and plant oriented diets that fit within the planetary boundaries.

We need inspiring and strict European Rules for several reasons:

  1. Strict European rules are necessary for equal impact on farmers across the continent. Our produce crosses country borders so equal laws will ensure fair trading.
  2. Take away the unrest. In the Netherlands we are afraid our government will crumble under the force of the massive protests of angry farmers that are organised by the big-agro industry. Our politicians are intimidated and threatened. But our country –  with the highest amount of animals per square km, immense animal suffering and worst pollution in the EU –  needs change the most. With clear perspective, Europe can take away much of the anger, so farmers can move forward again.
  3. Climate change: as farmers we are the first to notice climate change. We cannot produce food in draughts or floods. We see crops failing more and more often and are worried. Every climate action taken now, will take a while to take effect. So action is needed now.
  4. Biodiversity: we cannot farm without insects or healthy soils. Yet, we see insects disappearing and soils eroding.
  5. The Ukraine war: the war has made clear how fragile our food system is. We should not be feeding animals with food that is transported across the world. We should be feeding the people in our own region with healthy and biodiverse food.

A message to all people in charge who have been intimidated by angry farmers, please know this: there are many farmers out there who urge you to take the right decision. Tens of thousands of small ánd large scale food producers urge you to protect the planet, to restore biodiversity and to let us go on with what we do best: produce healthy food.

On behalf of many farmers,

Biodynamic Farmers Netherlands; Dutch Federation of Agroecological Farmers; Caring Farmers Netherlands