Intended phosphate reduction plan for the dairy sector

14 December 2016

This is a joint press release of the members of the chain organisation ZuivelNL.

The members of the chain organisation ZuivelNL (the Dutch Dairy Association, the Dutch Federation of Agriculture and Horticulture and the trade union of the Dutch dairy farmers) expect to complete their part of the phosphate reduction plan next week. Together with the Dutch Agricultural Young People’s Association (NAJK) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, they are putting the finishing touch on a package of measures to reduce the phosphate production by the dairy farming sector in the year 2017.

The Phosphate Reduction Plan ZuivelNL stimulates dairy farmers to reduce their livestocks if they have more cows and young cattle on their farm than they had on 2 July 2015 minus 4%. Dairy farmers who do not or not sufficiently adjust their livestocks will be cut back on the milk money to be paid. Dairy farms that have reduced their livestocks in 2017 will be exempted from the measures and receive a premium. The sooner the reduction will be accomplished in 2017, the higher the premium will be. Farms that, in accordance with the definition of the Dutch manure law, did not have a phosphate surplus in 2015 and therefore are land-related, do not need to reduce their livestocks with respect to their livestock density on 2 July 2015.

The Dutch Federation of Agriculture and Horticulture (LTO Nederland), the trade union of the Dutch dairy farmers (NMV), the Dutch Agricultural Young People’s Association (NAJK) and the dairy companies associated with the Dutch Dairy Association (NZO) will submit the Phosphate Reduction Plan ZuivelNL to their administrative bodies for decision-making.

The Phosphate Reduction Plan ZuivelNL is part of a package of measurements that together with the scheme for those who stop farming and those who reduce their livestocks and the phosphate reduction by the cattle feed sector will result in a reduction of 8.2 million kilograms of phosphate. The measures will only apply to 2017. As from 1 January 2018, the dairy farming sector will limit the phosphate production through the legal phosphate rights system that was approved by the Dutch Lower Chamber early December 2016.

An important part of the Phosphate Reduction Plan ZuivelNL will be an agreement that is declared universally binding for the measures that the dairy companies intend to take in connection with phosphate reduction. Such an agreement will make the measures apply to all dairy companies and dairy farmers in the Netherlands. ZuivelNL expects to submit a request for the agreement that is declared universally binding to the Ministry of Economic Affairs this week or next week. This agreement that is declared universally binding can (after it has been checked by the European Commission) take effect as soon as possible, but in view of the procedure to be followed the expected date of commencement is 1 March 2017.

The Phosphate Reduction Plan ZuivelNL is available for download (PDF). Or you can read the text of the document on this webpage.