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Uniekaas signs Voluntary Grazing Agreement

Widely supported initiative for the preservation of grazing

Major agreement to keep cows grazing

Around fifty players from across the food chain have signed an agreement to keep cows grazing. The Voluntary Grazing Agreement was signed this afternoon at a dairy farm in Weesp. This is the first time so many players have spoken up in support of grazing at dairy farms.

The signatories of the Voluntary Grazing Agreement want cows to be allowed to graze outside as much as possible and believe they have a common responsibility to maintain at least the current level of dairy farms allowing cows to graze. So each will contribute through their own role in the chain. Cows are a characteristic feature of the Dutch landscape and the public attach great importance to seeing cows grazing on pasture. Grazing is part of cows' natural behaviour. In terms of animal welfare, cows must be kept responsibly both out on the pasture and in the shed.

The signatories include organisations such as dairy farmers, dairy companies, farm visitors, retail, cheese traders, social organisations, land management organisations, government, education and science. The farm visitors group consists of feed suppliers, bankers, accountants vets and breeders, for example.

Activities

All these players can contribute to maintaining at least the current level of farms allowing cows to graze by: offering and promoting dairy products from grazing cows, providing financial support to dairy farmers who allow their cows to graze and giving advice on grazing, for example. Although individual dairy farmers make the choice whether or not to allow grazing, or to limit grazing, many players influence the opportunities for allowing cows to graze. They therefore contribute to the choice made by dairy farmers.

Initiators

The initiative for the agreement was taken by the Sustainable Dairy Chain, a cooperative agreement of the Dutch Dairy Organisation and LTO Nederland. "The importance of this agreement should not be underestimated. Dairy farms in the Netherlands are developing quickly. Grazing for dairy cows must remain part of modern farming systems," says Kees Romijn (chair of the dairy farming section of LTO Nederland).

Piet Boer (chair of the Sustainable Milk Production Committee of the Dutch Dairy Organisation): "Grazing affects almost all aspects of dairy farmers' business. For this reason it is incredibly important that we have made an agreement with all players in and around the dairy industry, to keep cows grazing."

The agreement is open to any player who wishes to join and contribute towards the signatories' objectives.

Geplaatst op: 18 juni 2012