Jan Overeem of Christen Contact Agarisch sees farmers struggling for Thanksgiving – De Puttenaer


Barneveld Thanksgiving 2022 how? How can you be thankful for crops and work in a year full of crises? Wouldn’t it be better to have a day of prayer again? Jan Overeem (59) asks these questions as National President of the Christen Contact Agarisch (CCA). I ​​am looking for answers.

In an appeal to churches, De Voorthuizenaar outlines current events around the world, citing the devastating war in Ukraine, the serious energy crisis, and the problematic nitrogen crisis.

“The nitrogen debate has polarized,” Jan Overeem notes. The farmers protested and demanded attention to their problems and the perspective of their family business. Turns out good conversations about solutions are impossible or hardly possible anymore. Broker Remix looked into the eyes of the cultivators and saw how deep it all went. Because you can’t give them a bag of money and then they just have to find out where they live. For a farmer who was born and raised on a farm and vowed to turn his heart on it, it was extremely dangerous if you had to leave all of a sudden. Remkes put it in the right context. Frankly speaking: There is a deep crisis of confidence between the government and the agricultural sector. Moreover, the nitrogen crisis is not an isolated event. There are major challenges in terms of soil, water, climate, biodiversity and health. These issues require an integrated approach.

We ask that we pray for farmers whose business future is (sometimes very) uncertain

Engraved heart In this reality, Wednesday, November 2nd will be the Crop and Labor Thanksgiving. The CCA President invites churches to give thanks and prayers also on behalf of the farmers union CGMV. Overeem: Thanks to God’s power and care, because He gave sunlight and after a drought it also rained and allowed agriculture to grow. To eat and drink every day. Thank you to the farmers, gardeners and fishermen who do their work with passion, on the land or in the barn.

We ask that we pray for farmers whose business future is (sometimes very) uncertain. Pray for this country and this people. May the polarization decrease, so that we can truly listen to each other and seek the good for each other and for the Earth. We pray for people who don’t have enough money to make ends meet. To pray for governments and administrators, for the wisdom of God, so that they can and dare to make right decisions.

negative coil Overeem notes that some farmers are having a difficult Thanksgiving and also say thanks for being a CCA member. ,, I spoke with a person who was very angry in his heart and could not get rid of it. I can imagine you have a lot of trouble giving thanks, although I know this has to be at the top of your list if you believe me. every day again. But if your company and family suffer a blow like this, it will be hard for you. It’s hard when your successor doesn’t like it anymore and therefore has to finish your farm. It is not easy to arrange. Cultivators are sore in their hearts, which makes it difficult for them to be awarded this place. As a result, they risk ending up in a negative spiral, causing them to become overworked or overwhelmed. Then you are very far from home.”

We pray every day for the war in Ukraine to end

wars The fact that God directs life and actions is indisputable for the people of Voorthuizen. Overeem believes that the Creator rules the world. I was at church on Sunday and then it was about Psalm 46 and the standing fortress. God makes wars start and stop them. We pray every day that the war in Ukraine will end, but it continues to this day. We can’t control it, but we can pray for it. You can also be grateful that people from that country were saved and will build a second life in our country. It’s very complicated.”

Overeem wants to use the Bible as a guide and points to texts that give hope. , you have to have that and that’s why church attendance and Thanksgiving are so important. To restore hope and confidence in the future. It’s good to look back, what happened and where we are now, but you also have to look forward.”

It is not excluded that God wants to tell people something about crises, because these are written in his eyes on the wall if you believe in the end times, which is what he wrote about in the Book of Revelation. I don’t know when it’s and I’m sober too, because fifty years ago everything wasn’t cake and egg. But you have to take that into account.”

Soil and fertilizer industry Get back to the wild farming life today. More consumption, expansion, climate change and stewardship, the question is to what extent these factors are at odds with each other and whether individuals have an influence on this and are willing to take responsibility.

Overeem understands that the “peak cranes” in the Natura 2000 regions cannot continue to farm in this way. “In the last 30 years things have gone a bit wrong in the agricultural sector. On the one hand, so has the development of science and economic progress. But if we now want to build houses in the North of the Netherlands, is it really beneficial if we know that sea level is rising?” “These are issues we can’t solve with one, two, three realities. That’s a thought process that takes time. If someone wants to switch to organic farming, you don’t just do it, because that’s a completely different way of working, which you have to grow into.”

I believe we as an industry are capable of change

Overeem sees the transition, the change, as having already begun. “Because everyone understands that we will not save the world if we continue as before. We also have to change as a sector, but what was created in twenty years, has not changed in five years. Farmers have invested and the economic system behind it. You also have companies in the vicinity of farms and depend The first companies will already lay off employees. I think we as an industry are capable of change, but we have to give time to do it. I think ten to fifteen years. But we also miss the vision of the Cabinet a lot, because we always live from one crisis to another. ” .

animal recycling Overeem knows better than anyone that there is transmission among farmers when it comes to knowledge about farmland, because he has been teaching as a teacher at Aeres, a green middle vocational education training center, for the past five years. “You have to start there, so you can get to the young heads that get to know the soil as fertile as the earthworms are. The soil has to be good, because then you can harvest well. They know solid manure should be applied to the ground and not synthetic fertilizer.”

For example, it is now technically possible to capture liquid fertilizer from the air and use it in the soil. This is part of the course, but European regulations forbid it. This takes time.”

The head of the CCA points out that the agricultural sector is often very smart and useful. For example, he describes the pig as “a frugal animal in its entirety”. “My brother feeds his pigs fattening him with mush, half of which consists of leftover products that we humans no longer need, such as steam hulls and wheat starch. The sector needs to move in this direction more, because it offers opportunities.”

Don’t take your eyes off society and look around to see what’s going on

Gap and meat According to Overeem, the number of animals in the livestock sector is steadily decreasing. However, he sees the emergence of larger agricultural companies, while the Voorthuizen resident believes that small farmers can also have a right to exist. Then you may have to do something else, like babysitting, or look at it differently than just milking your cows. Don’t take your eyes off society and look around to see what’s going on. I am also very much in favor of connecting citizens with farmers. Show what you are doing, so that there is understanding, because especially in the Randstad, people no longer see how things are done in the countryside. Knowledge is often hard to find. This creates a gap.”

Eating less meat is a good thing by Overeem. Organic products are also welcome. At the same time, he sees that in difficult times from a financial point of view, people look closely at their own wallets. “The growth of organic food is decreasing and that’s just about the money. We don’t really want that, but consumers are holding back in tough times.” He is concerned that there is a tendency for the rich in society to become richer and the poor to become poorer. And by the way, according to him, an organic label isn’t necessarily better for the climate. “Some biological raw materials, for example, are entirely imported from abroad, because they are grown there. Often the efficiency is somewhat lower. What will probably help is if we all eat a little less meat.”

On the table He knows that people consciously participate in their diet, as well as in church circles. Within the Protestant Church, a “at the table” phenomenon was created to discuss this with one another. Overeem thinks this is important. A difference of opinion may remain in his eyes.

CCA Chairman also sees that farmers who have a small wallet are still very grateful. Because old age is not always a blessing. When farmers used to approach the bank for a loan, the advice was to make it only three times higher. People no longer take it for granted. Moreover, the bank wants to check a large list of agreements and it is not easy to look back ten or fifteen years ago if you want to invest. It mainly depends on the economy and the government.”

It’s not all bleak

According to Overeem, there was also reason to be thankful this year when arable produce is seen. And, despite the drought, almost all of them came out neatly from the ground. Not everything is bleak and gloomy. There’s a lot to worry about, but it’s all the time. If we can give thanks, we can also pray again. And we declare by faith, “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth, who does not forsake the work of his hands, but will bring them to his destination.”

Psalm 67 appeals to him very much in this context, because it is a praise psalm that also asks for blessing. “The earth gave her her produce. May God bless us and fear him all the ends of the earth.” “This is a beautiful psalm to read and sing on Thanksgiving Day.” Overeem is sure to visit the village church in his hometown on Wednesday.

Frank Wolf

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