Green EU subsidy made largest Dutch dairy farmer even bigger
By Sergio Nieto Solis, | 5 March, 2022
Phosphate ceiling or not, Vreba Melkvee, the largest dairy farm in the Netherlands, continued to grow. During an environmental audit early last year, the company exceeded its provincial environmental permit. The municipality and province are aware of this, but shirk their responsibility. Meanwhile, Vreba receives tons of subsidies each year from the European Agricultural Fund, which promises environmentally friendly farmers a reasonable income. This is evident from research conducted by The Investigative Desk for Follow the Money.
Vredepeel in the province of Limburg is home to ten times as many cows as people. The village is home to the largest dairy farm in the Netherlands: Vreba. Due to its size, Vreba is also one of the largest recipients of EU subsidies. Dairy farms account for the largest share of agricultural emissions in the Netherlands and also receive the highest subsidies.
One of the aims of EU support is to protect the climate. However, while the Netherlands exceeded the phosphate ceiling imposed by Europe in 2015, a thousand cows and a milk factory were added in Vredepeel. In the meantime, Vreba may not be able to meet the requirements of its environmental permit and will have to keep looking for additional phosphate rights. Local and provincial authorities are sidestepping the responsibility for enforcement.
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