Enjoying Wageningen & U.S. Embassy Visit

To finish the day on Tuesday we were able to attend a yearbook presentation celebration, for one of the student groups at the university. The celebration was very unique in that the organization creates a yearbook every year of its events, and also contains stories written by the numerous members. At the celebration they had a book signing by the editors and enjoyed each other’s company while they looked through their new books.

wageningenThis morning we had some free time to walk around Wageningen. A few students went back to the university grounds to walk around more of the building and visit the gift shop. The other part of the group including myself walked through the main streets and visited shops that lined both sides. It was unique here that many of the items were on sale after the holiday season. There sales are very different than ours though. Many sales in the stores only occur once a year and have huge discounts associated with them. This is different when compared to at home, when sales can happen almost every week and many times are for only a small discount.

After grabbing a bite in one of the local restaurants we jumped on the bus, and traveled to The Hague. The Hague is the key diplomatic and policy center for the Netherlands. Many foreign embassies and other policy organizations are located here. The world courts are also located in The Hague.

US EmbassyAt The Hague we visited the United Sates Embassy to talk to Dutch officials about agricultural policy. The main topic was about Smart Climate Farming. This topic is especially important since the decision made in Paris last month about international climate change mitigation. In this agreement agriculture has a central role to decrease global greenhouse gas emissions while still providing food for a growing world.

The possible consequences of climate change have a direct implication to the agricultural field. Models show that climate change can possibly create more arid land, a higher occurrence of severe weather events, and an increase in the amount of diseases affecting crops around the world. Agriculture also is a large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, contributing about 20-25 percent of global emissions.

These issues have helped to spark the idea of Smart Climate Agriculture. Smart Climate Agriculture consists of three emphasis areas. These areas are possibilities to improve the agriculture industry to become more climate friendly. The three areas are produce a more sustainable food supply through better practices and management, reduce CO2 emissions of agricultural production, and work in production agriculture to produce crops in a way that are more resilient to severe weather events.

Farmers and policy makers are working together to tackle this climate change issues by using the Smart Climate Change model. The Dutch have been able to already get results with this approach. They have cut agriculturally produced CO2 emissions by 27% already and plan to reach their goals ahead of schedule.

During this meeting we also discussed the many standards already put in place by the European Union on agricultural commodities. This provided us insight and opinions from the Dutch policy makers, and allowed everybody present to better understand the dynamics of European agriculture.

Ryan Hanousek
University of Nebraska Lincoln

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