Scottish farming’s frustrations were heard loud and clear when more than 150 producers left their farms to protest about low prices and late payments in front of the Scottish Parliament.
Farmers from Perthshire, Fife and Angus joined other producers from across the country to tell Government ministers, opposition leaders and MSPs that their industry was in crisis.
As union members waved banners warning “no farmers, no food”, NFU Scotland Allan Bowie told listening politicians that the situation facing the industry was dire.
“I’ve never known so many sectors on the floor,” he said.
It was the first time the union has made a public protest in the history of the Holyrood parliament and Mr Bowie insisted the timing was spot on.
“There’s an election coming. Politicians are listening to you and your voice does matter,” he said. “ Let’s see what we can deliver here.”
Deputy First Minister John Swinney told the farmers he was listening.
“I’m acutely aware of the crisis facing the industry,” he said. “This is the right place to express your views. We hear you loud and clear.”
Other party leaders queued up to voice their support and tell farmers their doors were “always open”.
The tone of the rally was calm and farmers even applauded Rural Affairs secretary, Richard Lochhead who has faced calls for his resignation over the late payment of farm support.
It would have been very different had First Minister Nicola Sturgeon not intervened earlier this week with £200million of national funds to tide the industry over.