“Without a farmer, there is no food!”; “Against restrictions on our own land”; “Let the beasts roam your backyards, not our pastures”; “Have you eaten today? Thank us”; “We will not be servants on our own land”; read just some of the banners seen at one of the biggest protests in the history of our country, which was held on Tuesday by farmers under the leadership of the Slovenian Farmers’ Union. Thousands of farmers, who brought around 1500 tractors, from all over Slovenia, gathered at Republic Square in Ljubljana and demanded conditions that would allow farmers to survive on Slovenian land. “For this government, farmers are primitives who destroy nature, abuse and slaughter animals, and live off subsidies. Things will not change without a stronger approach. The Dutch farmers have (unfortunately) realised the same thing, as they are fighting the same woke green transition ideology of the government,” pointed out political analyst Edvard Kadič.
According to the President of the Farmers’ Union, Anton Medved, farmers are demanding the immediate withdrawal of the Regulation on the Natura 2000 Management Programme, the immediate withdrawal of the Act Amending the Animal Protection Act, which gives NGO trainees the powers of veterinary inspectors and controllers, and they have also expressed their opposition to the European regulation on the banning of phytopharmaceutical products, which the government of Robert Golob has agreed to implement, even though it poses a major risk of completely abolishing the cultivation of fruit and vegetables. Following the withdrawal of the law and the regulation, they are demanding that sensible proposals for solutions on other issues be sent to them within 14 days. If this is not done, they stressed that they would continue their protest activities. They also said that they have had enough.
While the ruling party is trying to show how the farmers’ protest is about their political background, so as not to admit that the problem is actually their ignorance of the farmers, the mainstream media have also shown in the way they report on the protests that they are blindly following the left-wing political agenda. Despite the fact that food does not grow in shops and that it is farmers who put food on our plates, the media outlet Siol went so far as to scorn the value of tractors which the farmers drove to the protests. In fact, they wrote an article entitled “Farmers protest with tractors costing even more than a hundred thousand euros.” There seems to be a fear among the mainstream media that, following the example of other countries in Europe, the government they helped to elect will fall.
Although a third of a century has already passed since the collapse of communism, farmers, Christians and entrepreneurs still represent the class enemy
According to Tino Mamić, editor-in-chief of the weekly Domovina and vice-president of the Slovene Association of Journalists and Publicists (Združenje novinarjev in publicistov), the Golob government has repeatedly shown itself to be a pampering mother for left-wing NGOs and bureaucrats, and a colourful mother for farmers and entrepreneurs. “If a passer-by dares to say “Boo” to Nika Kovač from a distance, that is more important to the government and the mainstream media than 300 tractors and even more angry farmers. This is clearly visible in the negotiations, which have been suspended because the government has clearly shown an insufficient willingness to engage in dialogue,” he explained.
With farmers and the Slovenian countryside completely on the periphery of the government’s agenda, farmers will have to shout much louder than judges, doctors and civil servants, according to Mamić. He believes that the government is unlikely to back down, so farmers whose farms are under threat will have to step up the pressure. “Although a third of a century, a generation, has passed since the collapse of communism, the most influential party in government, the Left party (Levica), maintains the values of the previous ideology. For them, farmers, Christians and entrepreneurs are still the class enemy.”
The mainstream media are trying to please the government
Mamić pointed out that the mainstream media is not reporting much on the protests because it is trying to please the government. “That’s why they keep repeating what the ruling party was saying during the time of Prime Minister Bratušek: they keep talking about how much the tractors in front of the parliament cost.” The farmer, he said, is the foundation of Slovenian statehood. “Historically, the farmers’ party has always been the strongest, and it was the re-establishment of the farmers’ party that was one of the turning points in the collapse of communism. Today, the farmer is the cornerstone of statehood because he preserves the cultural landscape, takes care of the environment, and produces food,” he pointed out, adding that food will be even more important in the future, and without it, maintaining the country’s sovereignty will be much more difficult. “Times are changing, and not in a good way,” he said.
He went on to point out that a few days ago, in an editorial in the weekly Domovina, he had written that the Slovenian farmer is not an industrialist. He is much more connected to nature than his Austrian or Italian counterparts. “Above all, he is much more connected to nature than politicians from Ljubljana. A farmer loves nature and lives with nature. His dog runs around freely and is much happier than a city poodle with a fancy haircut. A farmer is the first to be asked his opinion on nature conservation, not the baby-faced ‘loaded’ eco-activists who have only seen a spade in a children’s picture book. If anyone really wants forests and meadows to be diverse and to have the greatest variety of animal species, it is Slovenian farmers. Farmers are professional conservationists. You just have to listen to them.”
Environmental scientist Žiga Malek took to Twitter to comment on the anti-farmer comments that we have heard in recent days. He believes that many of the comments are misguided. For example, comments that farmers have nothing to protest about while driving tractors costing 100,000 euros. “Tractors are simply expensive. Even cheap tractors are expensive. And it is not just about the shape and size of the tractor, for certain jobs, the tractor simply has to be big. And just as all workers must have safe and comfortable job posts, the same must apply to tractors,” he pointed out, adding that it is pointless to complain about tractors since we live in a country where we like to drive big, heavy and useless SUVs (often not that much cheaper than tractors). “After all, these are very practical working machines that actually serve their purpose,” he stressed, adding that he was surprised by comments to the effect that agriculture contributes very little to Slovenia’s GDP, even from “leftists,” who tend to criticise GDP as a measure and goal of development. “First of all, the whole food sector contributes a whole lot to our GDP, and without farmers, it does not exist. But most importantly, farmers are a rare part of the economy without which we cannot survive, and they are indispensable,” he stressed, among other things. Incidentally, we have already mentioned that most farmers buy second-hand tractors, mostly imported from Germany. The same applies to the machines they use to work the land. While farmers are criticised for being subsidised, it is too often forgotten that, if they were not, food would be even more expensive for consumers.
Another internet user, Karmen Hafner, also commented on the criticism of the tractors, writing: “Some of you are criticising the Slovenian farmers’ revolt and saying that farmers are apparently not doing too bad, judging by the tractors they drive. But do you realise that a tractor is a basic necessity for a farmer? It is a work machine. Just like a CNC machine in the steel or wood industry is a work machine. Even private entrepreneurs have such machines. And they cost over 100,000,000 euros. But you do not seem too bothered about that. And besides, you probably do not even realise that most farmers actually buy used tractors, which were imported from Germany. They also buy other work machines second-hand, also from Germany or other European countries. You are also criticising farmers because they get certain subsidies. But do you even realise that you, too, benefit from said subsidies? If the prices of farmers’ products were meant to cover all the costs and would have to include the salary of farmers as well, our food would be so expensive you would not even be able to afford it. For a bull, which a farmer has to fatten for two years, he gets from 1000 to 1400 euros. Do you actually believe that a bull grows with nothing but air? You don’t have any idea what the demands and conditions are for obtaining subventions and grants. You also don’t even know that farming is one of the occupations that are most heavily controlled by various inspections. Therefore, I suggest you educate yourselves a little first. Perhaps you will come to some important realisations. And, just to add, private entrepreneurs also get subventions in order to purchase the machinery they need.”
It is sad that so much (metaphorical) manure has been thrown at farmers who, unlike Dutch farmers, protested peacefully and with dignity. Of course, when Friday’s protesters protested, it was a different story, despite the fact that the NGO representatives, who dominated among the cyclists, are known to be fed by budget funds. But everyone should be aware of the fact that food is not produced by NGOs but by Slovenian farmers who, unlike the elite in Ljubljana, are used to getting up very early in the morning to feed their livestock.