Interview Gerben Boon (najk)
Today 1:00 PM -Jesse Torringa – 1 comment
Gerben Boon is the new International portfolio holder at the NAJK. In doing so, he will strengthen the executive board now that his predecessor Peter Meedendorp will be working on the board more in the background. Gerben wants to stand up for the future of young farmers: “It is important that we as young farmers get a more structural input into the policy that is made for the future.”
Gerben (23) grew up on his parents’ farm in Babyloniënbroek, a village in the north of North Brabant. In 2017 they made the switch from dairy farming to arable farming business where Gerben now works part-time with his father. They grow potatoes, corn, sugar beets, but also field beans and practice agricultural nature management. He also recently started as a sustainable agriculture advisor. After studying Agricultural Business Administration at the HAS in Den Bosch, Gerben completed a master’s degree in Wageningen.
Congratulations on your international position at the NAJK. You are already well known in Brussels…
“Yes, that’s right. I did a four-month internship in the European Parliament because of the master’s degree I was following at Wageningen University. I was very involved with policy in the Netherlands and was at the Greenhouse Horticulture sector table at the time. If you then work with policy you are busy, then it is also very interesting to take it a step further. Then you will soon end up in Brussels. But there is so much happening there, before you even realize it, you are a a few years later.”
So you are not new to the international aspect. What else did you notice positively during your internship?
“I really liked Brussels. I especially did not expect that there would be so much dynamism between the European Parliament and the European Commission. The commission comes up with new proposals and then they are negotiated in the parliament and the council to jointly come to a conclusion again. to make a decision. And in that interim process you see that a lot is discussed with each other to reach a good decision. And you might not say it, but the great thing about Brussels is that the people are not as far away as in The Hague. There you first have to go through a spokesperson or press employee, for example, if you get to speak to them at all. In Brussels you don’t have that. In my opinion, MEPs are much more accessible.”
Portfolio holder International is not known to everyone. What exactly does it mean?
“I am actually concerned with everything that has to do with the Dutch position in Europe and the regulations drawn up from Brussels. This has a twofold effect. On the one hand, the Netherlands has a voice in the European Council. The Dutch position is determined by Our cabinet follows a process and I can provide input on behalf of the NAJK to have an influence as a stakeholder. The other part is talking to the committee and parliament about matters that are relevant to the Netherlands.”
What do you want to emphasize for the young farmers during your term of office?
“I think member involvement is very important. Policy in Brussels is often seen as something big and intangible, something over which we have little influence. But I think that despite the fact that it is so big, many different people work there and different factors play a role , it is best to explain what is happening there. We as young people must be informed and think about the policy that is being devised there. That is what I want to focus on. In addition, I think it is important that we as young farmers have a more structural to have input into the policy that is made for the future of us as young farmers.”
There are sometimes calls for less Brussels interference and more control for the Member States. How does the NAJK see this?
“I certainly understand where that comes from. I think it is due to a kind of fog bank that hangs around Brussels and all the organizations that are active there. People do not know exactly how things work there. Dutch politics, but also we as agricultural sector, often points to Brussels for new or stricter legislation, that it comes from there and the policy has been made there. But that is often not the case. In fact, all Brussels does is draw the lines of the coloring page and each member state colors its own coloring page yourself to achieve the set goals. And as one of the 27 member states, we all have a voice in those set goals. I actually think that if we make it clear in a more transparent manner what the powers are – the European institutions such as parliament and the committee, but also national governments – starting the conversation already goes more smoothly. By indicating how we would like to see certain policies differently and come up with alternatives instead of rejecting them, you can have a completely different kind of debate .”
“Ultimately it starts with awareness. That is why one of my spearheads is involvement. Ensuring that as many members as possible know what is going on, what is being discussed and it is known who is talking about what. If that is clearer, you can also have a better substantive conversation with each other.”
With practical knowledge, a master’s degree in Wageningen and your current career, you are at home in all markets. What is your ambition for the future?
“The honest answer is that I really don’t know. I think it is fantastic to work on the future of agriculture in Europe on behalf of the NAJK and as an advisor at Schuttelaar & Partners. And we will see what happens in a few years.” again.”
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Jesse is an editor at Boerenbusiness and focuses mainly on the arable sector, including grain and onions. He also follows the fertilizer market closely. Jesse also works on an arable farm in Groningen with seed potatoes as the main branch.
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