The discussions took place at the Mariahoeve dairy farm in Oxe. The ChistenUnie in Deventer had organized the meeting. Several farmers from Bathmen, Terwolde and Lettele were invited to participate in the conversation. The minister’s visit to the dairy farm lasted about two hours.
Soup with balls
The minister arrived at five to six. Five minutes ahead of schedule. Staghouwer wants to take enough time for the farmers, because there is something to discuss. The minister is received in a room where the wood stove is burning, the vegetable soup with balls is served and where quiche and sandwiches are ready. Because the ChristenUnie organized the visit, there was a short prayer before eating. The farmers introduced themselves during the meal and told what kind of business they have.
The atmosphere at the table was pleasant, despite the fact that the minister has an almost impossible file in his hands when it comes to future prospects for farmers. “I have just been working as a minister for five weeks and it cannot be that I already have a solution within those five weeks,” says Staghouwer. The farmers understand this and in turn explain that they crave perspective. The new environmental and nitrogen regulations have major consequences. “We want to know where we stand” says dairy farmer Kloosterboer. But he had no illusions that the minister would come with good news.
Minister dates farmers
The visit was part of the “Make a date” campaign that farmers across the country organized on Valentine’s Day. It is an initiative through which farmers enter into dialogue with people from outside their own farmer’s bubble. Staghouwer seized the opportunity to hear what is going on, but what opportunities there are for future-proof agriculture in Salland. The minister is convinced that there are opportunities. Where they are and what they look like remains the question. Staghouwer called it positive that farmers are doing their best to make something of it together, despite the fact that they feel let down by politics. His message to all farmers who have to deal with the new rules: “Keep talking to each other and try to find a solution together”.