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Canadian Rancher Named McDonald’s Next Flagship Farmer

01 June 2020

McDonald's named 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.

The McDonald’s Flagship Farmer Program is one part of the global company’s commitment to support, promote and amplify sustainable practices in agriculture. The program enables farmers 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.

Canada’s Stephen Hughes of Chinook Ranch in Longview, Alberta, was selected for his long-term commitment to innovative ranching practices, including year-round, rotational grazing techniques – a practice of moving animals regularly to avoid overgrazing that restores soil health, boosting its capacity to store carbon and water. As McDonald’s Canada’s Flagship Farmer, Hughes will share his experiences to inspire and inform fellow ranchers, showcase the best practices of Canadian beef producers and engage stakeholders on the impact he’s achieved at Chinook Ranch.

In 2018, McDonald’s recognized its first U.S. Flagship Farmers. Gary and Sue Price of 77 Ranch and Lyle, Garnet and Luke Perman of Rock Hills also practice rotational grazing on their operations to protect and enhance the land, among other innovations.

With the addition of Hughes in Canada, the program now includes 33 producers, ranchers, farmers and growers in 17 countries. Those farmers and producers represent eight different types of products and commodities, including beef, potatoes and more.

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 company’s unwavering commitment to Canada’s beef industry, which is the third largest supplier of beef to the McDonald’s system on a global basis.

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.

“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,” said John Betts, President and Chief Executive Officer, McDonald’s Canada.

The McDonald’s Flagship Farmer Program, launched in 2007, 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 Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, Poland, United Kingdom and the United States.

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