On Thursday 12 December 2013, the Dutch Federation of Agricultural and Horticultural Organisations (LTO Nederland) and the Dutch Dairy Association (NZO) announced that the Dutch dairy sector would be switching to a land-based approach to dairy farming combined with the retention of outdoor grazing.
The two organisations feel that farms without outdoor grazing options or with enclosed barns only are no longer tenable. Dairy farms without outdoor grazing and that require a new environmental licence should also be phased out, unless they take a minimum volume of locally produced fodder. Individual dairy companies should not purchase or process milk from new farms that do not conform to the envisaged future scenario, the two organisations said.
LTO and NZO are pleased that the Dutch government is creating sufficient scope for the development of dairy farming. This will naturally take place within the constraints imposed by the government, society and the sector itself. A land-based approach combined with outdoor grazing are key elements in the LTO and NZO’s ‘Responsible development of Dutch dairy farming’ strategy. Following the abolition of the milk quota, the dairy sector can then contribute to the growing global demand for dairy as an important source of natural nutrients. This will also be pursued in the future within the environmental constraints set by central government. LTO and NZO will use the strategy to build on their previous initiatives to make the sector more sustainable (such as the Sustainable Dairy Chain Programme, the Outdoor Grazing Covenant, and the Fertiliser and Minerals Dairy Plan).