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Of Pitchforks and Tractors: Netherlands Farmers Take to the Barricades

Tue, July 19, 2022   |   Author: Rod Taylor   |   Volume 29    Issue 29 | Share: Gab | Facebook | Twitter   

For decades, the western world has been all wrapped up in the fight against one of the most basic elements found in the natural world: carbon. That battle still rages, but now governments have declared war on another natural element: nitrogen. If we continue to pick fights with the basic elements of which our planet and atmosphere are composed, we may find ourselves without the resources upon which we all depend.

We’ve made it clear in past articles that we reject the hypothesis that carbon dioxide—a natural gas required by plants—is destroying the planet. But now, nitrogen has suddenly become the target of panic and desperate measures. In the Netherlands, farmers have taken to the streets and government strongholds to defend their nitrogen-producing livestock and—more importantly—their livelihoods.

The Government of the Netherlands—in an effort to reduce the nitrogen produced by livestock—had recently attempted to impose restrictions that would have forced dairy farmers and meat producers to substantially cut the size of their herds and flocks. The outcome of those policies (if followed) would not only have severely reduced the meat and dairy supply but would have made it impossible for many farmers to continue to make a living. In desperation, farmers and their allies and supporters have mobilized, in staggering numbers, to let the government know that they have no intention of complying. The extent of the civil unrest, which has included blocking highways, government buildings and food distribution centres, has certainly gotten the attention of legislators. How they ultimately respond still remains to be seen. But the farmers have been heard.

In Canada, our government has also set a target of reducing GhG emissions from fertilizer use at 30% by 2030. There has been no discussion at the producer level as to where this number came from. The goal was not set by farmers or Agriculture Canada. The target was set by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The trend of having agricultural practices scripted by global organizations like the WEF rather than by producers is a troubling one.

There is no doubt that some of the inspiration for the dramatic tractor convoys in Europe came from Canada’s very effective Truckers Freedom Convoy. But while that peaceful protest in Ottawa was ended abruptly and savagely by the implementation of the Emergencies Act, as of this writing, the farmers’ protests in the Netherlands are still going on. Unlike our Ottawa truckers, the Dutch farmers have implemented some more aggressive tactics, such as spraying manure on government buildings and blocking access to airports. So far nobody has died . . . but these farmers are fighting for their lives. If their government’s target of reducing nitrogen output by 50% is applied across the board, that will mean herd reductions of 30% or more and bankruptcy for many. It will also mean food shortages and higher prices for consumers.

Complicating the picture is the question many have raised: Is this really about nitrogen or is it a backdoor way to reduce meat production and promote a vegan diet . . . perhaps supplemented by crickets? Also being suggested is that the real motive is to remove farmland from production to make room for more housing, primarily to accommodate new immigrants. For the farmer who wants to keep producing and for the many families concerned about looming food shortages, the motives behind government actions are less important than the impact such legislation may have on their daily lives.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, in Sri Lanka, farmer protests have been going on for quite some time, also in response to government actions. The Sri Lankan government, bowing to a different arm of the green lobby, had attempted to go “cold turkey” on the importation and use of chemical fertilizers. To what extent crop production fell because of the lack of fertilizer or whether it was a result of the farmers—in protest—refusing to plant is difficult to determine. The brutal facts are that rice production has fallen by 50% and food prices in Sri Lanka have risen by 30%. The prices of some items—like carrots—are up by more than 500%. All this against a backdrop of skyrocketing government debt. Inflation in all sectors has reached 112% over last year’s prices. Could we afford that kind of inflation in Canada?

The world is at a very dangerous place right now, with rising costs, broken economies, supply chain disruptions and political divisions gnawing at fragile social institutions that require trust and investment to succeed. Stock markets are unstable and bearish. For those who do not know God, it must be a time of anxiety. But we who have put our trust in the Lord can rest in the assurance that He is still in control.

As citizens of Canada and as members of our local communities, we need to be involved (in a positive way) in the affairs of our nation, the policies of our governments and the wellbeing of our neighbours. We ought not to despair but to offer solutions and to be ready to lead when called upon. In these days of shortages and uncertainty, we need to be ready to share with those in need, not only food and shelter but also our faith: the reason for the hope that lies within us.

These are interesting days, but days full of opportunity. We’re told in the Book of Daniel that “. . . in the last days, those who know their God will be strong and do exploits.” Be ready to do some exploits today. Canada needs you, and Canada can become an example to the world if we will turn back to the biblical principles that, in former days, made us one of the freest, most prosperous nations of all time. We at CHP Canada are working to return to those principles and to restore the culture.

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