Angus Woods announced his intention to run for the position of IFA president at the Wicklow county executive meeting in the Woodenbridge Hotel on Thursday night. Farm incomes and the pressure of current prices are a key focus for the Wicklow man’s campaign.
“Given the pressure on farm income, I feel I can do a lot to help those guys in the pressured situation they are under at the moment. It’s been an incredibly busy period as livestock chair, with numerous different challenges either on the horizon or coming up in the near future,” Woods told the Irish Farmers Journal. “I have received an awful lot of phone calls from around the country actively encouraging me to put my name forward.”
A member of Barndarrig IFA, Woods is a drystock farmer.
“I come from what you would call a typical family farm. I have a suckler herd, finishing all the cattle, I have a sheep flock and a small bit of tillage. Disadvantaged land is what I’m working on here. It’s a busy farm, like a lot of family units. We are like everyone else in the drystock sector, we are struggling to make ends meet.”
IFA president Joe Healy and IFA Livestock chair Angus Woods protesting at the European Commission offices in Dublin. \ Finbarr O'Rourke
In 2011, Angus was nominated to represent Wicklow on the IFA’s livestock committee. He was subsequently elected as chair of that committee. He has represented Irish farmers in his capacity as chair at local, national and Brussels levels.
“The last three and a half years have been absolutely full on. We have been involved in everything from trade deals to looking for supports for farmers, to environmental campaigns, to factory prices.
“We haven’t just got into the situation we are in regarding farm incomes. This is a long-term issue. The Brexit crisis really has put it to the fore. IFA has a key role to play. You see challenges at local level, at national level and at European level. There is no one better prepared and better organised to deal with those challenges than IFA.”
The presidential hopeful says he has a strong team behind him for the upcoming campaign.
“I have a strong team, a very supportive family and friends around me. I’ve never shirked a challenge in my life and I’m certainly not going to start now.”
Woods is the first person to formally declare his intentions of going for the top job, with a few more rumoured to be interested. Each candidate needs to secure the nomination of their home county as well as five others. Deputy president Richard Kennedy is the returning officer for this election.
Listen to the interview below
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