Dutch farmers protest as government plans to target livestock sector with nitrogen emission cuts, government says some farms will need to shutdown

Farmers in the Netherlands have been partaking in days-long protests against the Dutch government's plan to cut nitrogen emissions which would target the livestock farming sector in the country.

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The Dutch government says “The honest message … is that not all farmers can continue their business,” adding that if farms want to survive they will need to farm differently. 

The Netherlands is the second-largest agricultural and food exporter in the world after the United States. The top three agricultural exported products in the Netherlands include flowers/plants, meat, and dairy/eggs. 

The current government is targeting nitrogen and ammonia emissions in the country which directly targets the livestock sector due to the nature of livestock production. Livestock produces ammonia through animal urine and feces.

The Dutch government is seeking to reduce the emissions of nitrogen and ammonia by 50%-70% to reach climate goals by 2030. 

Dutch farmers have been protesting in the street demanding that the government scrap this plan and stop targeting the sector that contributes to the economy. 

Farmers say this could make them go out of business and would force most to reduce their herds by at least 30%, which could make their costly operation not financially viable. 

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