Jim Power report ‘was still not ready for publication’ in January – Woods

The long-awaited report into the beef sector that was commissioned by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) to be done by economist Jim Power “was still not ready for publication” as of January 7, according to former IFA Livestock Committee chairman Angus Woods.

Woods was responding to comments made by IFA president Tim Cullinan at the Laois IFA annual general meeting (AGM) earlier this week that Woods had delayed publication of the document.

In a statement to AgriLand, the former livestock chairman said: “The Jim Power report into profit levels and margins in the beef sector was held out by Tim in the executive board of the IFA as a miracle cure to the income crisis in the livestock sector.

“This was never going to be the case and the IFA Livestock Committee and most informed IFA officers knew this,” Woods claimed.

Also, I was informed by the general secretary [Damian McDonald] that the report was not ready for publication throughout last year and, as of January 7 last, was still not ready for publication.

“This was confirmed by the general secretary to all attending our IFA AGM. It’s hard to understand how I or the livestock committee delayed the report’s publication in December.”

The former chairman pointed to falling Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments and supports – combined with depressed market prices – as being key factors in undermining incomes in the livestock sector.

Continuing, he defended his record on the committee, stating: “The IFA Livestock Committee tackled the income crisis head-on and secured emergency support funding from Brussels which has now flowed through to livestock farmers in the BEAM [Beef Exceptional Aid Measure] package.

“This was hard won and, together with the BEEP [Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot] money secured in autumn 2018 and the BDGP [Beef Data and Genomics Programme] payments, it helped hard-pressed beef farmers in the run up to Christmas. More needs to be done.

Tim shouldn’t be wasting farmers’ time in re-fighting his election campaign. The world has moved on.

“He could better serve IFA members by building on the progress made by the livestock committee in securing significant income supports and make the case for additional funding and delivery on the issues identified within the Beef Taskforce to ensure livestock markets are transparent and work for farmers.

“We are all excited about Tim’s energy and, as a livestock farmer, I look forward to him securing the much talked about €160 million BEAM 2 scheme, without conditions, CAP reform and the top beef price in Europe.

“However, the Power report is likely to be a distraction in this crusade,” Woods concluded.