Successful biodiversity pilot

In 2021, thirteen CONO dairy farmers took part in a pilot project to map out the biodiversity on their farms, specifically in the areas where no agri-environmental management (ANLb) payments are possible. The pilot was a collaboration between the agricultural collectives Hollands Noorden and Water, Land and Dijken, BoerenNatuur, the Province of Noord-Holland and CONO Kaasmakers.

This pilot project has shown that a larger group of cattle farmers is practising some form of nature, which can also be secured. The biodiversity monitor could be a suitable instrument to work with a reward system as well. Farmers can earn points on the KPI 'herb-rich grassland' and the KPI 'nature and landscape' by taking various measures on their farm and plots. For example, by making a certain percentage of their land herb-rich, mowing later, planting flower borders, shrubs, trees and hedges, and using less pesticides. Boerennatuur, the umbrella organisation of agricultural nature associations in the Netherlands, has designed a monitoring system that elaborates on this. The province will remain in discussion with the parties involved and together they will look at the lessons from the project and the possibilities for the continuation that arise from it.

For CONO, biodiversity, together with outdoor grazing, animal welfare, recycling and climate, is an important pillar in our Caring Dairy sustainability programme. Since 2019, we reward our dairy farmers on good sustainability performance including agricultural nature. We are therefore convinced that with more appreciation, it is possible to make a positive impact. After all, every dairy farmer already works with nature.