Peter Broeckx is a dairy farmer and very proud of it. Not self-evident in times when suspicious looking at the share of the sector in the global warming. I Belgian farmers made, according to Broeckx, ‘but the key often lies in the hands of the consumer’.
For over 30 years, I am a proud farmer in the Kempen village of Dessel. The care of my animals every day central. I make long days and I love it so much. Passion for the craft, as it is called, is still far too mildly.
The past few months, our agricultural sector, however, is often in a corner pushed, mainly because of the impact that meat production has on the climate. About 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions is due to livestock. The passion for the profession may be ever so great, I can hear you all thinking, she doesn’t detract from the argument that our livestock sector plays an important role in the global warming.
That’s right, but partly. It is just that passion of our Belgian farmers who ensure there are especially a lot of skill on the day is laid and there is a lot of effort to happen in terms of climate. The agricultural sector in Flanders is exemplary for other countries.
‘Can meat production be even better? Of course, and we are working hard to’
Since 1990 the emissions of greenhouse gases, according to the MIRA report from 2016 with a whopping 26% reduction. In the same report indicates that the agricultural sector in Flanders today but for eight percent responsible for the emissions of CO2. Five percent of these come from livestock. It is so important to have the discussion in a fair way to implement the domestic animal sector does not have the same environmental impact as the foreign.
Can it get any better? Of course you can. And we are working very hard on. There are several ambitious projects have been launched to ensure the sustainability of the farms continue to improve by, among others, the re-use of sky – and surface water, green energy or low emission technologies. To continue to support organisations such as CRV breeding programmes for cattle are as efficient as possible in converting feed to weight gain and to reduce the methane production in ruminants to reduce. Thanks to these programmes, we have succeeded in the production to be increased while the size of livestock, the same can continue.
Also in the area of animal feed is working hard on sustainability. The cultivation, import and transportation have a large environmental impact. Therefore, cattle in Flanders mainly locally grown foods. Between one hundred kilograms of feed is around eighty kilograms of grass, corn, clover and alfalfa on the private lands mixed in. All of this will lead to an increasingly smaller footprint.
The many efforts of the farmer in spite of, the key is often in the hands of the consumer
But the many efforts of the farmer in spite of, the key is often in the hands of the consumer. That should more often opt for locally produced products. In view of the sustainability of the Belgian livestock sector and by extension the whole of the Belgian chain is flesh of our soil is the best option for a durable piece of meat, instead of meat from Spain or the far Argentina.
That argument applies not only in terms of the production, but also for the environmental impact of the transports that are linked to meat from, say, Latin America. It goes without saying that the local breed of cattle and the fodder is much less and shorter transports means, what the carbon footprint is limited.
Even though not every note perfect, sing without passion is just unforgivable. That said Beethoven about two hundred years ago, but also for our sector, there is an element of truth in it. With our passion for the profession as a leitmotiv, we work hard to make any false klimaatnoot further away to work. Hopefully it explains to the consumer the same passion to the day with his choice of meat with us.
Chairman of the CRV (cooperative rundveeverbetering)