Farmers demonstrated against a package of agricultural measures. To understand why farmers have misplaced the pillar, it is worth looking closely
On October 22, 2019, thousands of farmers protested the Federal Government's plans with their tractors: an insect repellent action program, a new fertilizer ordinance, restrictions on animal husbandry and a diversion of agricultural subsidies toward greater environmental protection, and a free trade agreement with the Mercosur states , farmers see critically.
The initiative was called for a demo The land creates a link in which farmers have organized a mutual federation and independence from the parties. Agricultural policy was too impractical and too bureaucratic, they said. The law is the same as disabling.
On strips near water, fertilization with liquid manure, manure and Co. should be banned. In particular, farmers resist extended fertilization periods in pastures and meadows in the fall and winter. On the other hand, stricter fertilizer rules are needed to improve groundwater quality. As nitrate levels in groundwater have not been respected for years, the European Commission is threatening a German lawsuit.
For example, fertilization must be reduced by 20 percent in intensive livestock livestock areas. But why the "Ackerbauern" rule applies to even potato growers Henning Schulz in a 3sat interview, even if they don't keep any animals. We want to protect nature and the environment, further develop animal welfare, develop agriculture in a modern way, the Alliance stresses. However, one wants to jointly develop daily needs, rather than establishing the specifications of environmental and nature protection organizations.
The agrarian package was too "toxic," outraged farmers president Joachim Rukwied. Politicians torment peasant families with too many measures. It is ironic that Rukwied plays a farmer advocate with his many posts in companies and associations of the agricultural industry, fertilizer producers and banks.
For years, the multifunctional has shared responsibility for wrong decisions in agricultural policy and unfairly distributed EU subsidies. Already in 2017, he vehemently opposed the ban on glyphosate. Accordingly, he should, of course, have a personal interest in keeping everything the same (agricultural lobbying in the back room).
A three-piece agricultural package in criticism
With the use of pesticides, a distance of ten meters from water is now prescribed. From 2021, pesticides should no longer be used in natural reserves. And finally, in 2024, a long-standing ban on glyphosate should come into force. In addition to stricter rules for pesticides and more protected areas, the federal government wants to pay farmers € 50 million to promote insect repellent.
Another € 50 million goes to insect research and surveillance. So far, animal welfare and welfare benefits have been rewarded with money from the so-called second pillar of agricultural subsidies. Now the government wants to increase funding: from 4.5 percent to six percent of total funding. In return, the direct payment will be set at € 4.50 per acre.
The echo on the agricultural package is divided. In the future, the EU will no longer distribute subsidies to the area but to the environmental services, so farmer concerns are threatening the new Höfesterben.
Regarding the redistribution of direct payments, the planned six percent is a good compromise against the background that the SPD wanted to increase to 15 percent, said Secretary of State Hermann Onko Aeikens. Farmers' protests are also directed against the new Mercorsur Free Trade Agreement.
For cheap imported goods that flooded the domestic market, prices of domestic agricultural products could be lowered. The agreement would not only take into account the export interests of German farmers, but also give them more options, Aeikens opposes.
Species protection and clean groundwater never played a role
In unsuspecting cities, the protests, which are currently accompanied by green crosses in the fields, are initially irritating. Do farmers really want bees to die and the environment to be poisoned?
A look at the past at least partly explains their resentment. For decades, they have been preached to increase the number of animals, buy more land, and specialize their farms in dairy farming, pig farming, cereals, sugar beet farming, or some vegetables. Grow or go soft was the motto.
Chemical companies enriched the sale of agrochemicals and mineral fertilizers, while self-sufficient farms with widespread crop rotation, grazing animals, pigs, chickens, geese, cats and cottages disappeared in the fields. Many farmers survived on dripping EU subsidies. Meanwhile, the species is disappearing, groundwater is further polluted.
Now politicians want to reverse and use action packages to prevent the worst: fertilizers and pesticides need to be reduced to protect themselves from insects and reduce high levels of nitrate. Better late than never, one should think.
But is it really enough to turn a few screws to correct the mistakes of the last 50 years? After all, the foundations of an outdated economic system need not be shaken. The whole system remains focused on growth. Not without reason, Renate Künast talks about the agrarian package of Potemkin village built by the government to save the old agricultural system. Schulze and Klöckner wouldn't really believe in banning glyphosate, he criticized the former agriculture minister.
It refers to Holland, where the state purchases land from farmers who do not have enough space or money to use it for nature conservation or organic farming. In this way, further factory farming in Germany can also be avoided and more land can be acquired for organic farming or nature conservation. Considering meat consumption, Künast is looking for higher prices. The extra income could be used to convert agriculture.
Baden growers criticize referendum on "Save the Bees"
Apart from the agricultural package, many people are worried about asking for more beekeeping. The background is that in Baden-Württemberg, two beekeepers from Stuttgart have launched an application for approval, signed by almost 36,000 citizens. Similar to Bavaria, a referendum on the protection of bees has been launched.
Key Points: By 2025 Only half of all agricultural land is treated with pesticides. By 2035, 50 percent of agriculture will be converted to organic farming, and in protected areas pesticides will be completely banned and orchards specially protected.
Many farmers, including organic farmers in South Baden, whose area is in protected areas, are concerned about these requirements. Because, for example, this would mean that organic wine growers at Kaiserstuhl should no longer use copper. So far, small amounts of copper against fungal diseases have been allowed in organic viticulture. With the ban on copper, there will be no viticulture or fruit growing on Lake Constance, growers fear in Lake Constance. The result is a poor harvest.
Without pesticides it simply will not work, so there is widespread opinion among growers. The ban would lead to serious reductions in the industry, criticized Paulin Köpfer. "We work very closely with the initiators and supporters of the referendum," said Ecovin Baden, president of the association. There had to be a way that was acceptable on all sides. And that should work together.
Eco farmer Martin Hahn of Überlingen-Bonndorf also believes that increasing the share of organic farming to 50 percent by 2035 is not feasible. According to him, although synthetic pesticides should be banned, mineral pesticides on a natural basis should still be allowed.
Promoting structural change is better targeted, according to a spokesman for Green Agricultural Policies in the Baden-Württemberg State Parliament. After all, since 2011, the share of organic in the region has increased from seven to 15 percent within seven years.