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.

Progressive Young Farmers standing in a field

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.

The people behind our Plan     

"During my placement, I’ve been learning all about the hard work, know-how and eye for detail that is needed to produce the quality beef that goes into McDonald’s beef burgers. It’s certainly a change of pace from my studies in Economics and Politics but I’ve loved every minute!"

David, 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

Irish beef innovation farm

In 2015, we supported the establishment of a beef innovation farm. The Newford farm, established by Dawn Meats and Teagasc, with additional technical assistance from the Irish Farmers Journal, has the aim of demonstrating best practice in sustainable suckler beef production. The farm is showing how it is possible to generate a viable family farm income and improve profitability when operated to the highest level of technical efficiency and best practice. It acts as a shop window for new technologies, with data available to interested parties.

Beef farming carbon report

We’ve invested over €1m into studying carbon reduction on beef farms in the Ireland and the UK. 100 Irish farms took part and the farms involved saw their carbon emissions reduced by over 23% during the six-year study.

Origin Green certification

In 2016, McDonald’s Ireland became the first foodservice company to achieve Origin Green certification. It’s the world’s only national food and drink sustainability programme. To achieve certification, our sustainability timelines and targets had to be verified to an independent standard. These included our commitments to sustainable sourcing and environmentally friendly operations.

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.

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.

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