News - February 18, 2010

Zegveld dairy farm may get new role.

The Dutch provincial governments see a new regional role for experimental farms. Wageningen UR has been asked to postpone its decision on closing Zegveld dairy farm.

Open Day in Zegveld
There may be a role for Zegveld dairy farm in the innovation programme for the 'Green Heart' of the Netherlands set up by the provinces of Utrecht, and North and South Holland. 'We going to make plans this year in which there is a role for Zegveld', says director Lex Hartholt of the Green Heart programme office, which coordinates the development of the area for the three provinces.
In December Wageningen UR announced the closing of its experimental dairy farm in Zegveld. Now that the provinces are interested, a new start as a regional knowledge centre seems feasible. The national government is allocating 113 million Euros to the provinces for the Western peat meadow areas, where there are problems related to water quality management and soil subsidence.
'We are going to set up an innovation programme first and then look at whether there is a useful role for Zegveld in it', says Hartholt. He is asking Wageningen UR to postpone its decision on closing Zegveld for a year. Zegveld manager Frank Lenssinck thinks there are enough specifically regional questions to justify its own research programme. Examples would include emissions of laughing gas, rising water levels, silting, and urban-rural relations in the Green Heart.
Paul Vriesekoop, manager of the animal experimental research and Wageningen UR, thinks postponing the decision is premature. 'The provinces should make it clear before 1 April whether Zegveld has a role to play in the development of the area as a regional knowledge centre for the Green Heart.'
The provinces of Overijssel and Gelderland are also working on a regional knowledge agenda, in which there may be a role as a regional knowledge centre for the experimental dairy farm in Aver Heino.