Prime Minister Mark Rutte had a “good chat” with a dairy farmer from Koudum in Friesland on Thursday afternoon, but there is “great concern”. Like the two previous conversations he had with farmers elsewhere in the country, this one was intense. “The worries are also big and I can’t eliminate them,” Rutte said. On Friday, the mediator Johan Remkes and part of the Cabinet will meet the farmers’ organisations.
Rutte said he understands farmers’ concerns. He explained that the Cabinet was working on the issue of nitrogen reduction and on water and particulate issues. “It is important in this country to have a strong agricultural sector, but also to ensure that nature is preserved. These are interests that must be well balanced.
On Friday morning, Rutte and Ministers Christianne van der Wal (Nature and Nitrogen) and Henk Staghouwer (Agriculture), led by Johan Remkes, will meet with several farmers’ organisations, including LTO Nederland. Other farmer organizations like Agractie and Farmers Defense Force have joined LTO. Rutte expects fists to be raised and content to be discussed at this meeting. “There’s a lot of irritation.”
It’s an important conversation, Rutte said. “This is the first time we have met.” He wouldn’t answer any other questions. “I won’t say anything about it. I want to give the conversation a chance. Nor did Rutte explain what it means that there are “no taboos,” as he and Remkes have promised farmers in recent days.
The Prime Minister is “certainly learning lessons” from the three conversations he has had with farmers in recent weeks. He doesn’t mean much either. “What farmers attach great importance to is that there must be fair opportunities to earn a fair living.”