Launched in 2012, the McDonald’s Progressive Young Farmer Training Programme aims to help young people kick-start their careers in farming and learn from some of the innovative British farmers supplying the restaurant chain’s menu.
From land management to marketing and IT skills, young people wanting to work in agriculture will get the opportunity to explore today’s modern farming sector at all levels.
Farmers Guardian has teamed up with this year’s all female intake who will be talking through their experiences of the supply chain, from farm to restaurant, through a series of monthly blogs.
Starting in two weeks time, the girls will write about their experiences on the farm in their different sectors, focusing on the practical farm business management skills from their respective locations.
Later in the year, the focus will be on ’behind the scenes’ of the various food chain’s and meeting the suppliers of meat sold at McDonald’s.
Other areas focused on will be the future of farming, how McDonald’s burgers are made and how the meat goes from farm to counter.
Here the three young farmers tell us about themselves and what inspired them to choose a career in agriculture.
Having grown up on a mixed family farm in Suffolk, I have spent my whole life outdoors. My interest in farming and all things animal-related led me to Nottingham University where I am studying a BSc in Animal Science.
I have learnt so much over the last two years but now I would like to get out into the field (pardon the pun) and get some practical, hands on experience in an industry I have so much respect for.
Our family farm has a small herd of pedigree British Blue cattle, a commercial herd of 60 suckler cows and a flock of 100 pedigree Suffolk Sheep. As well as animals our arable land allows us to grow wheat, barley, oil seed rape and sugar beet.
Whilst I am hands on at home, I really wanted to experience what happens after the farm gate, so when the chance arose to spend 12 months immersed in the McDonald’s supply chain, I knew it was an opportunity too good to miss.
My focus over the next year will be the dairy supply chain, and as part of this I will spend two periods of three months on a dairy farm in Staffordshire.
I have just started my first placement and so far it has been really interesting. I can’t wait to get stuck in with the calf rearing and milking, whilst being mentored by the dairy farmer so I can get to grips with farm business management.
During my placement I will get the chance to gain experience in everything from animal husbandry to people management, as well as learning about what happens between the milk leaving the farm and reaching the customer in restaurant.
I’ve got so much to learn and can’t wait to get involved and be part of such an interesting industry.
I was lucky enough to grow up in the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire where, like many others from rural backgrounds, our playground was a few fields complete with ponies. Although my family were not farmers, my rural upbringing has definitely influenced my love for farming.
I always find myself having to explain why I chose a career in agriculture but for me it is simple. Many a teenager might long for the bright lights of the city after such a childhood but I embraced the rural lifestyle and saw the extensive opportunities in one of the most important jobs in the world, which led me to Harper Adams University where I study agriculture.
I have already gained some on farm experience with lambing seasons, and calf rearing in New Zealand, which I loved.
I believe this programme will be the perfect opportunity to expand my knowledge and gain in-depth experience on all aspects of the supply chain.
Over the next year I will be focusing on the pork supply chain. Having never worked with pigs before, I am really looking forward to gaining insight into the sector and beginning my three months on a farm in Oxfordshire.
With opportunities to learn about animal husbandry, serving and weaning, I have got so much to learn.
It’s only been a few weeks so far, but basically, “I’m lovin it!”
When everyone else at A-level was considering courses in English, History and Drama I already knew that for me it had to be agriculture.
Since starting my course at Harper Adams University two years ago, my interest in agriculture has increased and I’m so lucky to be a part of an industry that requires such a wide variety of skills and disciplines to be successful.
I grew up in South Yorkshire where we farm cereals, potatoes, a small flock of sheep and a Limousin-cross suckler herd.
My whole life I have been interested in agriculture, it’s the foundation of nearly every aspect of the human food chain and something I feel passionate about, and so when the opportunity came up to be a part of the programme I knew it would be perfect for me.
Having grown up heavily involved in beef production, I was really excited to learn that my focus for the next year would be the beef supply chain.
I am really looking forward to experiencing the entire supply chain from farm to restaurant and learning the importance of the British Beef industry to McDonald’s.
In the meantime, I can’t wait to spend the next few months with my host farmer on a beef farm in South Wales, there is so much I’m looking forward to over the next year.