* We use milk that is organic and sourced from UK dairy farms, except for milk contained in our milkshakes, frappes, ice-cream and Chocolate, Banana, and Strawberry flavour milk.

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.

Organic Dairy Network logo.

Sustainable Dairy Investment Fund and Organic Dairy Farmer Network

We have invested £750,000 to support British dairy farms through a capital grant scheme. The grants have enabled farmers to further improve animal health and welfare and reduce the carbon footprint of organic milk production. This work, in association with Arla and our Organic Dairy Farmer Network, received a Judges’ Special Award at the Industry Cream Awards in 2019. Our Organic Dairy Farmer Network involves 65 UK organic dairy farmers who meet with us and industry experts on a regular basis to share knowledge about putting sustainability into practice on farms

Hands holding three potatoes.

Sustainable MacFries Fund

In the UK, we are investing £1m in our Sustainable MacFries Fund, together with our potato supplier McCain, to support research and provide grants to British potato farmers. This will enable them to use new technology that improves their understanding of soil quality and optimises water management. As both soil and water are essential to the quality and yield of the crop, improving understanding assures the long-term, sustainable supply of potatoes for our fries

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.

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 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.

School of Sustainable Food and Farming

  • In October 2021 McDonald’s announced a unique partnership with Morrisons, National Farmers Union and Harper Adams University to launch the first School of Sustainable Food and Farming (SSFF) in the UK. The SSFF aims to educate, inspire and empower current and future farmers to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the whole of agriculture in England and Wales by 2040, within a sustainable farming and food system.
  • For the first time, the School brings together recent research and learning on farming using sustainable methods. Based at Harper Adams University in Newport, the School’s courses will be designed using the work on sustainable farming and food production by the University through this unique collaboration. The courses will be run by some of the UK’s leading experts in agronomy, veterinary practice and nutrition. 

The work of the School is split into 4 areas:

  • New Talent This includes undergraduate curriculum development and projects aimed at attracting new and diverse talent into food and farming.

  • Upskilling our Current Workforce Education and sharing insight for farmers and food producers via virtual and in person learning.

  • Research Work collaboratively to find solutions to key industry challenges through academia and the latest technology.

  • Influence Develop common language to support the industry and farming sector through policy development.

Food and Farming Careers

As one of the biggest supporters of British and Irish agriculture, we want to inspire the next generation of farming talent. We know that many young people today may not realise the variety of roles the UK&I food or farming industry can offer. We want to challenge those misperceptions through programmes that showcase the real benefits of a career in this space. 


 

That’s why our Food and Farming Careers offer undergraduates opportunities to learn vital industry skills. Through the Progressive Young Farmers programme, we are supporting our Plan for Change goal of helping over 100 young people from non-traditional farming backgrounds gain practical experience and access to mentoring with the businesses, farmers and stakeholders that supply us with beef, chicken, potatoes, pork, dairy or eggs.

  

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.

To find out more or to apply, click here

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 

   

To date, my experience has been exciting and varied, allowing me to learn more about agriculture and gain a broad understanding of the different commercial functions within a leading food production business. The insight and knowledge I am gaining through working across the McDonald’s supply chain will assist me in developing my career and fulfilling my ambition to work in commercial agriculture.


Alison Forsyth, Root 2 Food Trainee 2022

Collaboration

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 Scholarships Trust logo.

Nuffield Farming Scholarship

We were the first major retailer to partner with the Nuffield Farming Trust, who offer farming research scholarships. The McDonald’s Scholars enter an overseas programme that researches new techniques to help make farming more sustainable. Find out more about our 2022 scholars – Toby is conducting research into maximising the benefits of arable rotation and how it creates wider opportunities for rural communities and Chris is researching regenerative agriculture and how the UK farming system can become more resilient and sustainable.  

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.

European Roundtable for Beef Sustainability logo.

European Roundtable for Beef Sustainability (ERBS)

We are founding members of ERBS, which is shaping the future of beef sustainability in Europe. The four themes of work for the ERBS, which are supported by eight goals, are to: improve the environmental footprint of farming systems, to preserve the effectiveness of animal medicines in beef farming through responsible use of antibiotics, to improve animal health and welfare, and to improve the resilience of farm businesses

The Prince’s Countryside Fund logo

The Prince’s Countryside Fund

We have a three-year partnership with The Prince’s Countryside Fund to help support the economic resilience of farming families. The support includes ‘Ready for Change’ workshops that help livestock farmers make informed decisions about change management on family farms. Through our partnership we also helped the Fund to deliver its much needed Rural Response Emergency Grants in 2020 to farming and rural communities navigating the challenges related to COVID-19

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