McDonald's Canada names its first-ever Flagship Farmer and celebrates the organization’s continued commitment to Canada’s beef industry
beef farmer


TORONTO, December 10, 2019 - McDonald's Canada has named Stephen Hughes from Chinook Ranch in Longview, Alberta, as its first-ever Canadian representative for the McDonald’s Flagship Farmer Program, a global initiative that amplifies the stories of exceptional farmers who exemplify best practices in beef production and agriculture.

Hughes was selected for his long-term commitment to innovative ranching practices, including year-round, rotational grazing techniques. As McDonald’s Canada’s Flagship Farmer, Hughes will inspire and inform fellow ranchers, share his experiences, showcase the best practices of Canadian beef producers and engage stakeholders on the impact he’s achieved at Chinook Ranch. He will also continue to participate in a variety of community engagement and outreach programs.

The McDonald’s Flagship Farmer Program is one part of the global organization’s commitment to support, promote and amplify sustainable practices in agriculture. The program enables farmers, ranchers, producers and growers to share knowledge and experience with other farmers around the world, helping to drive positive change across the global agriculture industry while helping protect the viability of their farms.

The longstanding relationship between McDonald’s Canada and Chinook Ranch has helped establish McDonald’s as a global leader in beef sustainability and represents the organization’s unwavering commitment to Canada’s beef industry.

McDonald’s Canada has used 100% Canadian beef since 2003. Since 2009, the company has also been a catalyst for sustainability in the Canadian beef industry. The organization will continue to champion the responsible practices the Canadian beef industry is known for, which help ensure the humane treatment of animals, and positive outcomes for farmers, ranchers and the planet. 

The McDonald’s Flagship Farmer Program has engaged farmers and ranchers in Europe for several years. The program’s current focus is on identifying Flagship Farmer beef producers in each of the top 10 countries from which McDonald’s sources its beef, including Canada (the third-largest supplier of beef to the McDonald’s system on a global basis), the United States, Australia, Brazil, France, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, Poland and United Kingdom.


“McDonald’s commitment to using 100% Canadian beef and supporting Canadian ranchers and farmers remains a key business priority,” said John Betts, President & Chief Executive Officer, McDonald’s Canada. “Bringing the Flagship Farmer Program to Canada is the next logical step in our beef sustainability journey and helps us respond to growing consumer demand for responsibly-sourced beef. By working together on initiatives such as this, everybody benefits–our business, our suppliers and our guests.”

“I am humbled to be selected as the first McDonald’s Flagship Farmer in Canada,” said Stephen Hughes, Rancher from Chinook Ranch in Longview, Alberta. “I am happy to be an example of all the good work that is going on in my industry; and I appreciate and recognize the commitment that McDonald’s has made to Canadian ranchers.”


  • The global McDonald’s organization has identified 33 producers, ranchers, farmers and growers in 17 countries as part of the Flagship Farmers program.
  • Those farmers and producers represent eight different types of products and commodities, including beef, potatoes and more.
  • In 2009, the global McDonald’s organization began working with environmental and conservation partners to define sustainable sourcing priorities.
  • In 2012, McDonald’s was a founding member of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, alongside other leading organizations.
  • In 2014, along with its producer and processor partners, McDonald’s Canada piloted the development of a standard for sustainable beef production in Canada.
  • In 2016, McDonald’s achieved its global goal to begin sourcing verified sustainable beef via its Canadian pilot program.
  • In 2018, McDonald’s Canada became the first organization to begin using the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) certification mark on its Angus packaging, and, in addition, the global McDonald’s organization announced a new global beef antibiotic policy.

ABOUT McDonald's Canada

In 1967, Canadians welcomed the first McDonald's restaurant to Richmond, British Columbia. Today, McDonald's Canada has become part of the Canadian fabric, serving close to three million guests every day. More than 90 per cent of McDonald's 1,400 Canadian restaurants are locally owned and operated by independent franchisees. Nearly 100,000 people from coast to coast are employed in either corporately owned or franchised restaurants. Of the almost $1 billion spent on food, more than 85 per cent is purchased from suppliers in Canada. For more information on McDonald's Canada visit         

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