Our Farm Forward programme

It’s our agriculture programme with three big aims: supporting resilient farmers, raising animal welfare standards and making environmental improvements.

As part of the programme McDonald’s works in partnership with its suppliers across three key areas:

  • We innovate, investing in the latest research to support farm sustainability and animal welfare.
  • We illustrate, working with our farmers and suppliers to bring these innovations to life on farm to share best practice.
  •  And we influence, using our scale to encourage industry progress and innovation.

We work closely with farmers in our supply chain to make sure Farm Forward is always relevant and useful to them.


Our Farmer Networks

Sustainable Beef Network

In 2021 we updated our Farm Forward programme to include a new Sustainable Beef Network, for beef farmers to share knowledge and learn from industry experts.

Sustainable Beef Network logo.
Sustainable Beef Network logo.

Sustainable Beef Network

In 2021 we updated our Farm Forward programme to include a new Sustainable Beef Network, for beef farmers to share knowledge and learn from industry experts.

Sustainable Beef Network logo.
Sustainable Beef Network logo.
Organic Dairy Network logo.
Hands holding three potatoes.

Read more about how we sustainably source our milk and potatoes


Innovation

Beef farming carbon report

We’ve funded a £1m study into carbon reduction on beef farms in the UK and Ireland. The farms involved saw their carbon emissions reduced by over 23% during the six-year study.

Cow eating hay.
Cow eating hay.

Beef farming carbon report

We’ve funded a £1m study into carbon reduction on beef farms in the UK and Ireland. The farms involved saw their carbon emissions reduced by over 23% during the six-year study.

Cow eating hay.
Cow eating hay.
FAI farms logo.
FAI farms logo.

FAI Farms

We are a founding partner of FAI Farms, undertaking research to advance sustainable farming. Every year we invest in a programme designed to improve the welfare of animals and the impact of farming on the environment.  

Our research led to the launch of our range enrichment programme, requiring all egg producers supplying McDonald’s to plant a minimum of 20% tree cover on their ranges. The canopy cover provided by the trees encourages the hens to make more use of the range.

Our most recent project was launched in February 2021 with the aim of better understanding the benefits of farming regeneratively using adaptive multi-paddock grazing for beef cattle. The impact of this research has been recognised by Compassion in World Farming, who have awarded us with their 2021 Sustainable Food and Farming Award.

FAI farms logo.
FAI farms logo.

FAI Farms

We are a founding partner of FAI Farms, undertaking research to advance sustainable farming. Every year we invest in a programme designed to improve the welfare of animals and the impact of farming on the environment.  

Our research led to the launch of our range enrichment programme, requiring all egg producers supplying McDonald’s to plant a minimum of 20% tree cover on their ranges. The canopy cover provided by the trees encourages the hens to make more use of the range.

Our most recent project was launched in February 2021 with the aim of better understanding the benefits of farming regeneratively using adaptive multi-paddock grazing for beef cattle. The impact of this research has been recognised by Compassion in World Farming, who have awarded us with their 2021 Sustainable Food and Farming Award.

Group picture of the recent co-hort of the Progressive Young Farmers.
Group picture of the recent co-hort of the Progressive Young Farmers.

Progressive Young Farmers

Every year we give undergraduate students the chance to spend 12 months getting to know every part of our supply chain. They follow our products from farms to our restaurants and get the opportunity to work with a number of different suppliers, farmers and stakeholders around the country. The programme also includes mentoring by a progressive farmer who supplies us with beef, chicken, potatoes, pork, dairy or eggs. 

Throughout the placement, Progressive Young Farmers undertake specific projects to gain a better understanding of technical efficiency and sustainability within the supply chain. This includes working on farms, in food manufacturing and spending time with us at the McDonald’s UK Head Office in London and in our restaurants.

Group picture of the recent co-hort of the Progressive Young Farmers.
Group picture of the recent co-hort of the Progressive Young Farmers.

Progressive Young Farmers

Every year we give undergraduate students the chance to spend 12 months getting to know every part of our supply chain. They follow our products from farms to our restaurants and get the opportunity to work with a number of different suppliers, farmers and stakeholders around the country. The programme also includes mentoring by a progressive farmer who supplies us with beef, chicken, potatoes, pork, dairy or eggs. 

Throughout the placement, Progressive Young Farmers undertake specific projects to gain a better understanding of technical efficiency and sustainability within the supply chain. This includes working on farms, in food manufacturing and spending time with us at the McDonald’s UK Head Office in London and in our restaurants.

We believe that the strength and diversity of people in our supply chain enables us to build a better and stronger team. So that’s why we’re working to embed diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the Progressive Young Farmer programme. This starts with formal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training for all students alongside a number of other training and networking opportunities.

To find out more or to apply, click here

The people behind our Plan

“One highlight for me was learning about the importance of encouraging diversity and inclusion in the agriculture and veterinary sector. As people exit or retire from agriculture, we need to encourage people of all backgrounds to see farming as a viable career option.”

Jess, 2020 Progressive Young Farmer Graduate 

Jess, one of the Progressive Young Farmers graduates.
Jess, one of the Progressive Young Farmers graduates.

The people behind our Plan

“One highlight for me was learning about the importance of encouraging diversity and inclusion in the agriculture and veterinary sector. As people exit or retire from agriculture, we need to encourage people of all backgrounds to see farming as a viable career option.”

Jess, 2020 Progressive Young Farmer Graduate 

Jess, one of the Progressive Young Farmers graduates.
Jess, one of the Progressive Young Farmers graduates.

Collaboration

Oxford Farming confernce scholars logo.
Oxford Farming confernce scholars logo.

Oxford Farming Conference scholars

Since 2012, we’ve worked with the Oxford Farming Conference to sponsor the Scholars programme. This long-term partnership has allowed us to create a programme accessed by hundreds of Scholars, helping to bring them together both before and at the event. In 2020, we launched our Oxford Farming Conference Breaking Barriers Scholarship to support young people who come from outside the sector but are keen to enter it. Two scholarships are available for candidates who reflect a broad diversity of geographical and academic experience, and who are simply passionate about food production and feeding people.

Oxford Farming confernce scholars logo.
Oxford Farming confernce scholars logo.

Oxford Farming Conference scholars

Since 2012, we’ve worked with the Oxford Farming Conference to sponsor the Scholars programme. This long-term partnership has allowed us to create a programme accessed by hundreds of Scholars, helping to bring them together both before and at the event. In 2020, we launched our Oxford Farming Conference Breaking Barriers Scholarship to support young people who come from outside the sector but are keen to enter it. Two scholarships are available for candidates who reflect a broad diversity of geographical and academic experience, and who are simply passionate about food production and feeding people.

Nuffield Farming Scholarship

We were the first major retailer to partner with the Nuffield Farming Trust, who offer travel scholarships. The McDonald’s Scholars enter an overseas programme that researches new techniques to help make farming more sustainable. Find out more about our 2021 scholars – Theeb is conducting research into supporting an ethnically diverse workforce in the agricultural, farming and veterinary sector and Claire is researching regenerative agriculture principles and the impact on health and welfare of livestock.

Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust logo.
Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust logo.

Nuffield Farming Scholarship

We were the first major retailer to partner with the Nuffield Farming Trust, who offer travel scholarships. The McDonald’s Scholars enter an overseas programme that researches new techniques to help make farming more sustainable. Find out more about our 2021 scholars – Theeb is conducting research into supporting an ethnically diverse workforce in the agricultural, farming and veterinary sector and Claire is researching regenerative agriculture principles and the impact on health and welfare of livestock.

Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust logo.
Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust logo.
European Roundtable for Beef Sustainability logo.
The Prince’s Countryside Fund logo
Female farmer using a VR headset with a herd of cows.
Female farmer using a VR headset with a herd of cows.

Foodsteps roadshow

Between 2016 and 2019, McDonald’s UK ran a nationwide campaign inviting the public to follow the ‘foodsteps’ of the farmers, suppliers and restaurant teams in its supply chain. 

‘Follow our Foodsteps’ was a fully immersive experience that toured events around the UK, using the latest virtual reality technology and 360° video to tell our food story through the eyes of the people who grow, produce and prepare food for our menu.

Female farmer using a VR headset with a herd of cows.
Female farmer using a VR headset with a herd of cows.

Foodsteps roadshow

Between 2016 and 2019, McDonald’s UK ran a nationwide campaign inviting the public to follow the ‘foodsteps’ of the farmers, suppliers and restaurant teams in its supply chain. 

‘Follow our Foodsteps’ was a fully immersive experience that toured events around the UK, using the latest virtual reality technology and 360° video to tell our food story through the eyes of the people who grow, produce and prepare food for our menu.