According to those present, the farmers’ protest in Stroe had been a cozy summer festival on Wednesday. After the images of a paralyzed A1 and N35, we saw at Humberto reporter Jaïr Ferwerda sitting on a shovel with two farmers, and on the youth news farm children on a bouncy castle – the word ‘festival feeling’ was often used. Bee On 1 said reporter Thomas van Groningen: ‘What struck me was that when you spoke to the farmers in the field, there was a lot of nuance in it, while fierce statements were made on stage, such as: nitrogen does not exist.’ What would prevail at this talk show table: the nuance or the denial?
“Let’s get to the content,” said presenter Carrie ten Napel after Caroline van der Plas (decorated with a farmer’s handkerchief) explained how she had milked the landowner’s cows. Nitrogen professor Jan Willem Erisman added the pie chart with nitrogen precipitation: 61 percent comes from agriculture. Not a good representation, in the opinion of Van der Plas: ‘In this picture, something very important is forgotten, that agriculture also stores nitrogen in the soil.’ That was already incorporated into this, Erisman said. And the figures were no longer current, Van der Plas said later. Didn’t matter, according to Erisman: ‘If 2018 is the reference year, you have already completed part of your assignment.’
Tjeerd de Groot, the D66 member who was not present at the protest because his safety could not be guaranteed, had tobacco from this time-consuming tap dance around the facts: ‘This is exactly what is happening again, so it’s not about the farmers. All kinds of feints about which the professors say: no, that’s not the issue.’ And that while the nuanced farmer was also there: behind the scenes he had had such a good conversation with farmer Annemiek Koekoek about their low prices. “We should talk about that.”
Koekoek explained that she could not scale back any further: when the Natura 2000 areas were designated in the 1990s, she had already lost forty cows and now she would have to do that again ‘for a marble field of blue grass’? Here was an entrance to a conversation. Because the Birds and Habitats Directive from 1990, Erisman also wondered, was it still usable? ‘I think this is going to be very complicated,’ said Ten Napel quickly. Albert Verlinde and Leon Verdonschot had joined the studio to talk about Rob de Nijs’ singing career.
The talk show conversation was actually also reminiscent of a festival. One such afternoon when you are on your way to the main stage, part of the group suddenly turns to the chip shop, another delegation to the toilet, you go get the drink, and you end up standing alone with four glasses of beer in the front left .