Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney was the guest speaker.

Kent, who took over from Sligo sheep farmer Gabriel Gilmartin, majored on easing of land eligibility reviews, Rural Development Programme (RDP) funding, the difficulties of calendar farming and the bull beef problem at the moment.

Kent described penalties on overclaims as an “assault on bio diversity” and that farmers are now subject to precise computer mapping that their Teagasc advisors were unable to account for. Kent said the issue is particularly acute in parts of Cork.

“Whatever about Mississippi burning, West Cork will be a blaze,” he said, before adding that there should be “no retrospective penalties whatsoever”.

Minister Coveney for his part said targeted clawbacks by his Department are necessary as a way of avoiding larger, more sweeping fines from the European Commission.

Kent, who is a suckler an beef farmer from Wexford, said the main priority for the beef sector in 2014 should be on developing the “crucial” live export market and called on the Minister to make shipping animals to Britain “a reality”.

While Kent said the association has some minor reservations over the CAP and RDP deals, he said the Minister “got most of the key decisions right”.

Kent, who was elected in December, will have an initial two year term before having to face elections again in 2015.