Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 336823
Title Dairy farming in the Netherlands: challenged by demands for ecological and societal sustainability
Author(s) Oosting, S.J.
Source In: 12th International Symposium Animal Science Days. - - p. 47 - 55.
Event 12th International Symposium Animal Science Days, 2004-09-02/2004-09-04
Department(s) Animal Production Systems
Publication type Contribution in proceedings
Publication year 2004
Abstract Agricultural land in the Netherlands is predominantly used for dairy farming. Starting centuries ago farmers specialised, intensified and strived for scale increase in order to make a high quality low cost production. The Dutch dairy sector was successful in this respect and became an important exporter of dairy products and cattle, and many if not all Dutchmen were proud of the achievements of the dairy sector. Things have changed, however. Present-day middle-aged and younger generations predominantly grew up in urban areas, and the threat of food shortages is far from everybody and the window on food stops at the supermarket for most consumers. Dutchmen are no longer proud of their agriculture; on the contrary: many blame agriculture to negatively affects nature, air and water quality, animal welfare and rural social coherence as a result of the rationalised, economy-oriented development strategies. At the same time, economics of dairy farming are under pressure and average age of dairy farmers is high with only 10 to 25 percent of them having a successor. Many farmers quit and farm land is becoming available for up-scaling by others; farm houses are being occupied by citizens bringing with them the relatively new phenomenon of hobby farms, where livestock is kept as a leisure activity. So, many conflicting claims are put on land use, which became apparent during a Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic in 2001. It is widely realised now that the big challenge is to develop a new sustainable form of land use. What can be seen at present is a diversity of initiatives in rural areas where farmers combine dairy farming with recreation activities, nature and landscape schemes and green care (day activities for care-needing people), and where farmers and citizens cooperate to improve their living environment. The present paper describes some examples of this diversified development
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