Groenlo, 19 September 2022 – Today, by signing an open-ended contract with Erik van der Velde, an organic dairy farmer, and Gert-Jan Stoeten, an organic cattle farmer, De Groene Weg officially started building a Dutch organic beef chain. This way, De Groene Weg responds to consumers’ growing demand for regionality, as well as to organic dairy farmers wanting to raise and valorise their calves organically.
In the Netherlands, approximately 10% of organic calves are actually being kept in an organic way. The other 90% are sold on the regular market. We can do better, says De Groene Weg. The organic meat producer already has two strong chains in the Netherlands: pork (over 110 pig farmers) and lamb (over 35 sheep farmers). De Groene Weg is now taking the next step by setting up a third chain, namely a chain for Dutch beef, in which organic dairy and cattle farmers become part of an organic beef chain.
Allard Bakker, De Groene Weg director: “Our aim is to ensure that all calves born on organic farms in the Netherlands are actually valorised in an organic sense. This is in keeping with our ideology, where we continually strive for further sustainability in our branch.” This refers to both heifer and bull calves, which are not used for milk production. De Groene Weg will buy these calves after they have been raised organically. The buying of the calves will be linked to the decline in dairy cows when they are taken out of production.
‘This creates a full-circle organic narrative’
Erik van der Velde, an organic dairy farmer, and Gert-Jan Stoeten, an organic cattle farmer, are the first farmers to join this beef chain. Erik: “The fact that the calves I don’t have room for are not raised organically, really is a loose thread for us. You just want a solid narrative.” Gert-Jan: “This is a wonderful concept and a solid partnership. I hope these calves will do well with plenty of grazing. I’m actually quite sure of it. I’m especially drawn to De Groene Weg’s cooperative method, which gives farmers an actual seat at the table as well as a sense of community.”
With this cooperation, De Groene Weg is taking a first step towards setting up a Dutch organic beef chain. Allard Bakker: ‘‘Organic beef from the Netherlands directly meets the consumers’ growing demand for more regionality. This means that there is ample room to grow with this chain and, by extension, for farmers to link up with it.’’
Image caption: Today, on the pasture of organic dairy farmer Van der Velde in Niehove (NL), the two organic farmers from Groningen (NL) signed the open-ended cooperation contract with De Groene Weg. From left to right: Allard Bakker (director De Groene Weg), Erik van der Velde (organic dairy farmer), Gert-Jan Stoeten (organic cattle farmer), Daan Tomesen (project manager De Groene Weg).