Dutch dairy farmers are queuing up for the ‘death subsidy’ for cows as part of plans to reduce the size of the national herd, Trouw reported on Wednesday.
Some 60,000 cows, or 3% of the total number, have to be slaughtered this year to comply with European phosphate norms or the Dutch dairy industry will be hit with a hefty fine.
This means dairy farmers will either have to give up their business or return to the number of cows they had prior to July 2, 2015.
Junior economic affairs minister Martijn van Dam has earmarked €12m in compensation for the first 10,000 cows but the subsidy was oversubscribed by 30,000 within a day.
Farmers who fail to get the subsidy, which will now be allocated by drawing lots, will have to wait until the next round of subsidies which are expected to be lower, the paper writes.
The apparent eagerness to quit the dairy business does not come as a surprise to farmers organisation LTO. ‘Fewer farmers stopped in the last few years because they didn’t know what the rules were going to be. It was to be expected that this group would come to the fore,’ LTO spokesman Dirk Bruins told the paper.
‘But quitting your business is a big decision, and how many farmers were going make an emotional decision such as this in such a short time has been hard to predict.’.
Bruin wouldn’t hazard a guess as to what motivated dairy farmers to stop – environmental considerations or a good price for their cows. ‘You never know what the deciding factor is,’ the paper quotes him as saying.