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Learning on the Farm

March 8, 2019

Charlotte West participates in McDonald’s Progressive Young Farmer program in the United Kingdom, which provides work placements to help train aspiring farmers on sustainability best practices.

Charlotte West is among the growing number of women who are joining the agriculture industry and learning to farm. To help accelerate her career, she applied to McDonald’s UK-based Progressive Young Farmer program—a chance to work in every part of the agricultural supply chain, from the field to the supplier’s office to the restaurant, and acquire the business skills to succeed.

“I was really excited and really happy that I was able to do [the Progressive Young Farmer program] because it gives you so many opportunities in the industry,” Charlotte says. “Both working on farms which is a great way to learn, and also within the industry itself.”

The year-long program provides mentorship from a host farmer as well as some of the UK’s leading food-supply companies. Placements are available in several sectors – beef, pork, potatoes, dairy and poultry farming.

Charlotte started her placement on an organic dairy farm working with cows, feeding calves and tagging them, or working with young stock. “I’ve learnt a great deal…all different types of practice within the dairy industry.”

Her next position is at a conventional farm where she’ll learn about growing cereals and harvesting potatoes. The program concludes with a few days in a central London McDonald’s restaurant and a year-end presentation.

“We get so much support through McDonald’s and through our supplier,” Charlotte says of the program. “I definitely want to go home and farm. I think this placement has made me realize that and how much I do like [the dairy industry]. Dairy basically is the future for me.”