Farming with fewer animals is the only way forward: why we won’t solve the nitrogen problem with technology

With a focus on a reduction in nitrogen emissions, we are targeting just one symptom of an agricultural system on the brink of rupture. In this way, at best we can solve part of the nitrogen problem today, only to have to confront the agricultural sector tomorrow with limitations due to poor water quality, the gigantic manure heap or a lack of biodiversity.

Like they have nothing to do with each other. Only a nitrogen agreement that tackles the entire nitrogen accounting system in an integrated manner can give farmers and nature a future. As long as we do not dare to question the current thinking framework, investing in innovation will continue to be frowned upon.

Do we dare to opt for a different agricultural model that focuses on the farmer? To do this, we need to leave the path of the export-oriented mass production of meat, towards more land-based livestock farming, a more sustainable form of livestock farming in which the number of animals is geared to the carrying capacity of the environment.