Farmers call for better inclusion in Germany's climate policy, announce more protests
A farmer protest movement in Germany calls for better inclusion in the country's climate policy, arguing that environmental protection is "our own vital interest" and warning that current policies might force many farmers out of business, the newspaper Rheinische Post reports. In a letter addressed to environment minister Svenja Schulze, protest leaders Georg Biedemann and Arne Jordans say that the agricultural sector has been made responsible for many environmental problems, such as the massive loss of insect species or soil degradation, arguing that there is no scientific proof for a link between farming and species loss. "Putting the guilt on farmers alone will lead to more species and farmers dying off." The farmers say that the agricultural sector has always adapted to change "and we will not refuse to do so also in the future." Agriculture and forestry "are the only branches of the economy that absorb CO2," the farmers say. "Our plea is to be included in the dialogue and to use the opportunity to shape the future together with you." The farmers call on their colleagues to join a protest on 14 November in Hamburg, where Germany's environment ministers from the federal states will attend a meeting with federal environment minister Svenja Schulze.
The farmers' movement 'Land schafft Verbindung' has criticised the government's agricultural package for "endangering family farms," accused politicians and NGOs of "farmer-bashing" and already called for large-scale protests in October. Over half of Germany's land is used for farming purposes and the sector has been affected by recent years' heat waves and droughts, leading the German Farmers' Association (DBV) to call for emergency aid last summer.