Beeld: Lisa van Casand

Green EU subsidy made largest Dutch dairy farmer even bigger

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.

By Sergio Nieto Solis and Tomas Vanheste | 5 March 2022

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.

Read the full article on Follow The Money and listen to the radio broadcast by Argos on Radio 1.

More investigations

Newsletter Q1 2022

Read the full newsletter here.  Dear reader, We’ve been been extremely busy in Q1 and have published quite a few stories. There are more to

Read More »