They came very early. Even before the organizers of the "land schafft verbindung" association to receive their farmers in an orderly fashion, the first 300 tractors rolled into iphofen. Even farmers from central and upper franconia had come. And consumers who, out of sympathy with the farmers, had taken their own small agricultural vehicles out of the garage.
The otherwise tranquil town in the district of kitzingen turned into a center of farmers' protests on sunday from 4 p.M. Onward. Tractors rolled through the residential area, parked in field and meadow paths. Many approach roads were dense. From iphofen, all you could see were flashing tractors on the B8. The police had their work cut out for them.
900 tractors from all over france
Farmers honked their horns and waved banners with slogans such as "environmental protection is only possible with us, not against us!" Or "farmers are not the whipping boys of the nation, but your nurturers!" There was a popular atmosphere in front of the fire station. Children rode up and down on toy tractors. Many onlookers expressed understanding for the protests.
The police paid 900 tractors. The organizers spoke of 1500 demonstrators. The darker the evening sky over iphofen became, the more impatient the farmers became. Half an hour of discussion had been promised by thorsten glauber, the bavarian minister for environment of the free voters, before he wanted to hold a speech in the karl-knauf-hall on the occasion of the new year's reception of the district association kitzingen.
"If they don't talk to us, we'll kick up a fuss", muttered one or the other in the crowd. "Remain peaceful", tizian klein, one of the organizers, implored the protesters. Behind the scenes, farmer claus hochrein, spokesman for the "land creates connection" alliance and CSU local councillor from eisenheim, the stripps. The pressure on the representatives of the free voters, who were present for their new year's reception, grew.
Then kitzingen district administrator tamara bischof, together with claus hochrein, climbed an iron basket that was lifted into the air by a tractor and hovered like a buoy in front of the outraged farmers. She herself comes from a small farming business in the habberge district and understands the existential angst felt by many farmers in the face of ever new requirements, the politician tried her hand as a bridge builder through the creaking microphone. And earned applause. "But we need you farmers to cope with the challenges of climate change!" Individual whistles sounded.
Minister of the environment confronted the farmers
To the surprise of many, environment minister thorsten glauber suddenly took to the podium. He advocates that farmers for water margins, which are in the course of the people's petition "save the bees" can no longer be farmed, are being deprived of their land. There were murmurs of approval and applause. He also wants to spend 20 million euros to expand the nitrate monitoring network, which is a thorn in the side of farmers, and to take a closer look at individual areas and their groundwater. Perhaps with the help of the internal differentiation, the areas marked in red, because they are polluted with too much nitrate, where stricter regulations are to apply in the future, have become smaller. "The red areas must go!", shouted some in the audience. It's money down the drain, others shouted.
However, he admitted, his room for maneuver depends on the decision of the members of the bundestag, who will deal with the new soil ordinance in a few days. Interjections and whistles were heard. "Lugenpresse", some chanted when it came to the question of how much nitrate gets into the groundwater via clearing plants and dilapidated sewers – according to the environment minister, a factor to be neglected in view of the discharges caused by agriculture.
After nearly 20 minutes of public exchanges, glauber and a delegation of farmers retreated to the firehouse for the promised talks. Representatives of the press were not allowed to enter. Many politicians rushed to the new year's reception. Many tractors rolled off.
"We want to look at all the maps in the future, have a say in all the wells and nitrate measuring points." Claus hochrein, spokesman for the association "land creates connection
"Constructive and at eye level" – this is how district administrator tamara bischof described the conversation afterwards. The minister had taken time for many topics, claus hochrein was pleased to say in front of several hundred farmers who had been waiting for the results of the discussion on the square in front of the fire station. One example, says hochrein: "in the future, we want to look at all the maps, have a say in all the wells and nitrate measuring points." The minister promised him to bury this "black box".
At the same time, at the new year's reception in the karlknauf hall, glauber said that clean water was his top priority and that – despite his announcement that he would revise the measuring network and make it transparent – he had agreed to "horse-trading" will not let in the water quality. The farmers, who could not farm without clean water, also understood this. And while the minister told the kitzingen free voters about trusting talks with farmers, farmer hochrein drauben said in front of the hall: "it's mistrust that we farmers show to politics. They have to earn their trust again.