Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond was one of 300 Edinburgh residents to receive a free pint of milk this morning as part of NFU Scotland's "Dairy Godmother" campaign.
In a bid to raise awareness of the crisis facing dairy producers, and as a thank-you to Scottish consumers for supporting Scottish milk and dairy products, the NFUS Dairy Godmother, accompanied by the union's president Nigel Miller and East Lothian dairy farmer Simon McCreery, delivered free milk to the public from Mr McCreery's Yester Mains Farm in Gifford.
The final drop-off point on the secret milkround was Alex Salmond's residence at Bute House, Charlotte Square; members of the NFUS team then met with Mr Salmond to discuss the current dairy crisis and the long-term solutions needed.
NFUS president Nigel Miller said, "The response from those who woke up to the pleasant surprise of having an unexpected pint of fresh, nutritious milk on their doorstop totally reinforced our view that Scottish consumers truly value having Scottish milk and dairy products available.
"And they clearly share our opinion that those who care for and milk their cows 365 days a year are entitled to a decent and fair price for their efforts."
He said the scale of the price cuts had rightly invoked anger and frustration among Scottish dairy producers, undermining any confidence they might have had to continue milking cows in the future.
"We want the price cuts to be reversed and are continuing to speak to processors and retailers to achieve that before 1 August. We are also working on a robust code of practice for the dairy sector to be put in place so that contractual arrangements between dairy farmers and milk buyers are balanced and not open to any kind of abuse seen in recent weeks," he added.
"And finally, we are working with dairy farmers to see how co-operation and collaboration can strengthen their position in the dairy chain."
He said he hoped progress would be made at this weekend's ministerial meeting, and said a meeting will be held at Lanark Market on Monday 30 July.
"We will take a clear steer from dairy farmers at that meeting about what further action they wish us to undertake on their behalf to ensure Scottish dairy farmers can continue to supply an appreciative Scottish public with milk and dairy products."
Commenting on the milkround, Mr Salmond said the Dairy Godmother secret milkround was an excellent way for Scottish farmers to thank customers and encourage them to contact their milk suppliers and ask for a fairer deal for Scottish dairy producers.
"These further price cuts clearly demonstrate that the milk supply chain is not operating fairly and the ongoing instability in the market is not serving the long-term interests of the wider industry, and may well prove to be the final straw for many of our hard pressed dairymen," he said.
"This is clearly an utterly unsustainable situation, which is why I'm pushing for urgent action. I hope this week's ministerial dairy summit will move us closer to a long-term solution that will ensure our dairy sector can flourish."
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