This article appears in the June 16, 2023 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
INTERVIEW: SIETA VAN KEIMPEMA
Dutch Farmers Mobilized To Defend Science, Farming, and ‘Food for the Future’
Sieta van Keimpema, prominent Dutch farm leader, was interviewed June 2 by Diane Sare, Independent LaRouche candidate for U.S. Senate from New York. The video interview was later broadcast on Sare’s weekly online New York Symposium, in a discussion with Mike Callicrate, cattle rancher from Kansas, and owner of Ranch Foods Direct in Colorado, and Bob Baker, from the Schiller Institute Agriculture Commission. The June 2 Symposium, titled, “The World Is Hungry! Why Not Let the Farmers Farm?” does not represent a political endorsement, but was livestreamed and is archived to contribute to voter education, Sare explained.
Diane Sare: I know Americans have been following what’s happening in the Netherlands, but may not have an idea of the details and some of the important victories. So, I’m just going to ask you to go ahead and tell us who you are, what organizations you are with, and what the situation is.
Sieta van Keimpema: My name is Sieta van Keimpema, I have been a dairy farmer for a very long time, until three years ago. Today, I am still the President and a board member of the Dutch Dairymen Board, a group of dairy farmers, but most important is the group which also organized all the demonstrations. It’s the Farmers Defense Force, but it was founded in 2019. Since 2019, I have been involved in the Farmers Defense Force. I am Secretary of its Board.
Sare: How did the Farmers Defense Force get started? Why did farmers need to defend themselves?
Van Keimpema: In May 2019, animal extremists came into a pig farm and stayed there for 20 hours, without being removed by the government or the police. This shocked Mark van den Oever, the founder of Farmers Defense Force so much that he started a Facebook page. His Facebook page became in a few weeks’ time an enormous success. A lot of people became members. After that, we had a politician in August 2019 who said half of the farmers and half of the cattle had to go, to become more sustainable. Then the Farmers Defense Force became the organization it is today. We organized together with another group on October 1, 2019, and that was the demonstration where I came to the Farmers Defense Force. And since then, we have been actually fighting the government.
Sare: Now, I don’t suppose we really have a lot of excess food. You would think so by these crazy politicians who keep trying to cut production, but actually there are millions of people on the planet who are starving. Are any of the consumers of this food aware that their supply is about to disappear?
Van Keimpema: Well, that’s the egoistic effect of what these people who act like they are high priests of a new kind of sect, telling [us] that nature is something that they created. Since COVID, we have about 30% more hungry people in the world, the United Nations has said. Since the Ukraine-Russia war, there are a lot of people in Africa who can’t get any grain anymore to bake their bread. So, we see that this is a very vulnerable system, but also that getting dependent on other regions of the world is very dangerous, because you could get left out. Although we export a lot in the Netherlands, we import more than half of what we consume. The Dutch inhabitants—we are 18 million now—need 3.4 million hectares of land, but we only have 1.8 million. So, the rest of what we consume, we import. While we export our excess milk and meat and vegetables, more than half of what we consume comes from abroad.
Sare: What is the excuse for shutting down these farms? What are they saying the problem is? The alleged pollution and damage, what are they talking about?
Van Keimpema: They say that farmers pollute nature, actually. Some years ago, in 1990, Nature 2000 nature conservation areas were founded where specific species should live. Now, they are saying that the areas are very suitable for this and this plant, but if those plants aren’t there it is the fault of the farmers. And the emissions from their cows are the reason why those plants aren’t there.
But if I tell you that nature organizations are looking at the year 1900 or 1700, to get back to the state of nature that the Dutch nature was in— but nobody really knows, you know how ridiculous and evil this system is.
Truth About Emissions
Sare: And they’re making a big deal about nitrogen. Can you say something about this?
Van Keimpema: I was at the European Parliament this week, and it’s CO2. In France, it’s methane. But it all has the same outcome. It amounts to at least half of the farmers in Europe should go. So, you see that it doesn’t have to do a lot with nitrogen, because the surroundings are nitrogen; it’s even in our DNA. So, it all has to do with taking away the land. They just want us to move, and they are making legislation so that we have no other choice.
Sare: I read a speech by someone there, or maybe a translation, who said, “How can you say the cows are the problem? We have more cows now than we had in 1900. But [then] there were bison, and other animals in the millions that would emit the same gases.”
Van Keimpema: Yeah. Well, actually the Netherlands were, of course, first a swamp. And then because of the farmers and the building of dykes, the Netherlands became a dry country. We do have lakes of course, but now we have dry feet. It all has to do with agriculture, so what is really “unspoiled nature” in the Netherlands? Actually, it doesn’t exist; it’s all manmade.
So, it’s a very peculiar discussion, and very often you feel like you’re not on the same planet, because those people and what they say have nothing to do with science, and it has nothing to do with reality. So, they have an ideology, and politics very often is ideology, but it can also become very dangerous. We have seen in the past what ideology can do for regions. I think that the ideology today is that all the food production should be in the hands of the state, so a few people control food, and then you can control all your people.
Sare: Right. I think most of the people would be dead, actually.
Van Keimpema: Yes. That’s true.
Sare: If you don’t have food, what’s the conclusion? You’re not going to be there. I think this is terrible.
Now, there’s been quite a revolt, so tell me about that. What’s happening? And what has happened in recent elections and the response, and so on?
Van Keimpema: There was a lot of framing of farmers, already before 2019, just blaming the farmers for everything there is; we are the fault of everything. So, what farmers also thought was that the Dutch people would also think badly of them. Then, we did the demonstration on October 1, 2019, when thousands of farmers came to The Hague, where our parliament is, to protest. We saw that most of the Dutch people were standing alongside the roads applauding and waving. They were so enthusiastic! So, then we knew that the Dutch people do know the worth of the farmers. Since then, we have never lost the sympathy of the civilians, but what we are facing is the government, and politicians who keep framing the farmers for doing everything wrong.
In the election—it was provincial elections—a lot of people voted for a new party that also started officially on October 1, 2019, and that is what we call the BoerBurgerBeweging; translated it is the Farmer-Citizen Movement. They went from one seat in the Parliament, to 16 seats today in the Senate.
In the provinces, everywhere they are the largest party. But what our government this week has done, is scheme like they always do with parties outside of the coalition. There were two seats that were not given yet for the Senate, and if our government got those seats, they would have again enough position to continue with all the harassment they are putting on the Dutch people. They managed now to have those two seats that actually should have gone to the Farmer-Citizen Movement—they came up like a rocket—but they have managed to move those two seats to the coalition.
A lot of people are furious, so I think we need to keep that fire going, because they really want to get rid of the farmers; it’s really not a joke anymore. They are making new legislation. Today we have seen some parts of it, they call it the regional legislation, it’s the biggest thing since we had our Constitution. Then, [with this legislation] your land can be taken away from you. It’s horrible.
Sare: What would you like Americans to know, and what can we do to build this internationally? Are you getting a lot of international support? It seems farmers are marching in India and France and other places.
Van Keimpema: In March or a little bit later, we had American and Canadian people coming over to present us with a flag signed by a lot of Americans and Canadians, people with a lot of stature, also, to give us support, and for us, that was very meaningful. Also, in Europe we see that a lot of people support the Dutch farmers and know that they have to do something.
John Kerry Pushes Depopulation
In the U.S. you should be very aware, because here, in the newspapers, we read—we hn Kerry said that because farms emit 33% of emissions, that they should also come down to net zero. I don’t know if he said that, but if he did, I think the American people should be very aware also, because you are going down the same road that we are going down today. John Kerry has forgotten that we do not only emit CO2 and carbon and phosphates and nitrates, but we are the only sector that really captures CO2, nitrogen, phosphates, carbon, in our crops, in our grass, and in our soil. We are the only sector that does so.
I hear these politicians all boasting about the good work of forests, but a forest is large grass. They have exactly the same function; they capture, and as soon as you burn the trees for whatever reason or build furniture, all that was captured is going into the air again. So that’s the cycle of life. What we are doing as food producers is the cycle of life.
Sare: If this really were a concern, if they were honest, then they would want to have more farmers. But you see, they are not honest.
Van Keimpema: No, they are not honest.
Sare: It’s like the Nord Stream pipelines. We hear all about the environment, but here was the biggest emission of methane ever, a lot of evidence pointing towards certain American and British and other leaders, but no investigation.
Van Keimpema: And you have a professor that we even invited a few years back to the Netherlands, Dr. Frank Mitloehner, who is a real specialist on methane, and who explains also to the people from the IPCC [UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] that the methane from cows cycles back into the life cycle of CO2 again in 12 years. So, there’s actually nothing to worry about. It is the methane from swamps etc. that is much more of a problem. The biggest emitters of methane are manmade sources in the ground, open sources that man made, but not by farmers.
Sare: Right. We mentioned just before we started about the windmills and solar panels, which here in New York, for example, and across the United States, farmers are being forced in a way, coerced through financial agreements to put these things on their property, rather than growing food. Is there something like that there? What’s happening there?
Van Keimpema: Our whole North Sea is full of windmills now, and our fishermen have just been put down; I can’t say it any other way. We have villages where a lot of people—also tourism comes because they are the fishermen’s places. Now, there is one boat which still fishes, and the others have already stopped. So, that’s very sad, just in a few years’ time.
Sare: That’s unbelievable. I had a guest last year who is the head of the Long Island Fishermen’s Association, and they are in a huge battle against the windmills off the coast of Long Island, because they will destroy the fishing. Not to mention that in the hot weather, when you think you want the electricity from the windmills, there is no wind. So, it’s really crazy, and since they’re so unreliable, you have to build a gas-fired power plant with equal capacity to what you’re supposed to get from the wind, because it doesn’t work, so it doesn’t save you anything; it just destroys, really.
Van Keimpema: That’s happening here, too.
Farmers Fighting Government Evil
Sare: One other question about the political situation: What is the mood of the population regarding the war in Ukraine?
Van Keimpema: Well, the war already has been going on for about 18 months. Of course it’s still in the news, and people are still worried about it. But the panic from the first weeks has actually gone. There are a lot of people here from Ukraine who live in the Netherlands, who live in Germany, who live in Poland. Poland, of course, has a lot of Ukrainian people. That’s a fact. We also have a lot of immigrants coming in, migrants, and that is creating troubles. Housing is a big problem in the Netherlands. Young people can’t get a house, and it all has to do with the nitrogen crisis that the government made up. So, it’s a real political—
Sare: Wait, the young people can’t get houses because of the nitrogen crisis? How does that work?
Van Keimpema: Because they have put a nitrogen ceiling for the Netherlands. Years ago, our politicians said we are not going to go above this ceiling. And then, all farmers needed permits, so all this nitrogen got into these permits. All the other firms also needed the permits but nobody did something. So, they are all without the permit. And now the people with the permits have to give way to people who do not have the permit.
The logical thing to do, intelligent people would do, is just go to Brussels and say that what we have done years ago is stupid, and we need to do it in another way, so this nitrogen ceiling has to go. We have to look at the state of nature, that’s also what they say in the directive. The state of nature has to be protected. Well, we added a lot of nature, we added a lot of species, but we also have nitrogen. So, as long as our government keeps holding on to this stupid paper reality, we cannot build houses, we cannot expand certain firms. Actually, we cannot build roads, because then of course you also get more nitrogen.
So we have a very crazy situation, and there is a nature organization that goes to court and wins its cases against firms that want to expand, because they say, “Judge, look at the law. You cannot emit more nitrogen, so you have to take away the right to build houses, etc.” And he wins because we have a stupid law, and the judge looks at the law, and not at what’s logical. So that’s the stupid situation. If you would make a show of it, everybody would say, “Well, you can laugh about it, but it’s not realistic.” But we are living today in a soap [opera].
Sare: Right. Well, thank you very much. Is there a way that people can contact your association if people who hear this want to have farmers come or speak by Zoom to their meetings?
Van Keimpema: Yes, if they are sending an email its email@example.com. I know that we are writing defense differently than you, so probably we made a small mistake. We are writing defence with a c, not an s. If they would email, they should pay attention to that. We also have a Facebook site they can be a member of, if they want to look at what we are doing, but that’s all in Dutch of course, so it will be hard for them to understand.
Sare: Thank you for telling us what our own John Kerry is telling people.
Van Keimpema: It was spread here, and I asked a few people in the U.S. if he really said it, or if it was fake news, but most people said it was true, and that he said that 33% of the emissions came from farms, and to get to net zero, we had to get rid of those farmers. I thought to myself, it’s like I hear Brussels talk and I hear The Hague talk. But you need food; no farmers, no food, like a German farmer last week said, “Kein Bauer, kein Essen.” It’s actually the same. It’s very emotional for a lot of people today; that’s also for the farmers. There are a lot of emotions, and there is a lot of distress. So it’s really this government has to stop its evil ways. We need fair policy, and we need food for the future.
Sare: Yes, I think there is nothing more evil than preventing people from doing the good. That is one of the most evil things; it destroys your soul if you are not able to use your talent for the good of mankind.
Van Keimpema: Well, we even get banned. If you want to get a buy-out, because the Dutch government is going to buy out farms, if you are going to do that voluntarily, you get a professional ban [from re-locating and farming elsewhere], not only for the Netherlands, but for the whole of the EU. That’s how evil they are getting. So in the European Constitution, it is said that you have the free right of profession, and even that is not respected anymore, so it’s really going the wrong way in the Netherlands, but also in Europe.
Sare: Right. Thank you very much. I hope we can talk again under happier circumstances when we have changed our governments.
Van Keimpema: I hope so too. Have a lot of success getting elected!