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Mega farm report to launch public debate

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE - The mega farm debate in the Netherlands is currently getting more and more emotional. Many people are concerned about the mega farms where several hundred cows are kept and never get to see a pasture. The public attaches great importance to the sustainability of milk production; they want to see cows grazing in the fields. A recent report concludes that the majority of the Dutch public is very critical about the mega barns they see throughout the country. In other countries this issue is rarely discussed. Critical thinkers, the Dutch are concerned about the effect of the mega barns on public health (fine dust and smell) as well as animal welfare. Farmers lament the fact that news coverage tends to be negative towards them, while the public abhors what it sees as industrial farming while its unwillingness to pay reasonable prices for farming commodities pushes farmers into larger, computerized operations and greater production in order to remain viable. Dairy farmersí organizations say that only a cost-covering milk price and a sustainable milk policy can guarantee the survival of smaller family farms.