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Manure Policy and MINAS

Regulating Nitrogen and Phosphorus Surpluses in Agriculture of the Netherlands

This paper discusses the manure policy in the Netherlands with emphasis on the N and P

accounting system MINAS. MINAS was introduced by the Netherlands’ government in 1998, to step-wise decrease the N and P surpluses at farm level in 5 to 10 years to environmental acceptable levels (e.g. Henkens and Van Keulen, 2001). Individual farms that exceed certain levy-free surpluses for N and P (expressed in kg per ha per year) are charged with a financial levy, so as to encourage farmers to decrease the N and P surpluses. Whilst the use of nutrient balances in agricultural research has a history of at least one century, using nutrient balances with levies on surpluses as an instrument to ecologically transform agriculture had no precedent.

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