What is sustainability? Genuine sustainability is multi-faceted. It encompasses and improves all we influence: our Environment; the Ethics of how we treat people and animals; and the Economics that support long-term viability. In short, it’s good for our business and good for our planet. And sustainability is about always asking how we can do it better. 

We may all address sustainability slightly differently, but for the McDonald’s Flagship Farmers program it’s about managing our farms in ways that drive progress forward and demonstrate lasting positive impact. Our legacy will be to leave our environment in a better condition, while improving the lives of our animals and people and strengthening the long-term economic health of our farms. Often a single action or improvement can have positive economic, environmental AND ethical benefits. As Flagship Farmers, we want to share how we have embraced the challenges our industry faces and developed actions that drive progress.


Healthy ecosystems and environments are crucial for agriculture to thrive and they form the foundation of our farming systems, while guiding how we manage them. The demands of a growing global population are putting pressure on our natural resources, so harnessing the expertise of farmers and producers in managing their land and resources has become increasingly crucial.  


As farmers and business owners, we must ensure our agricultural products are developed in accordance with relevant regulations and acceptable social standards. Using that foundation, we can focus on continuous improvement, from working conditions and equitable pay for our employees to improving the care and welfare of our animals.

We also need to maintain fair and transparent business interactions with our business partners and ensure we conduct our work with integrity and honesty so that everyone benefits.


Farming and ranching may be a way of life, but they are also a livelihood so any conversation about sustainability is meaningless without acknowledging the importance of economics. Short-term economic viability is about cashflow, paying bills, wages, providing an income for the family; while long-term viability is about investing in the future and providing the ability to make key strategic decisions, such as new equipment purchases, expanding the operation, adding new buildings or implementing new technology. We’re also often challenged by the uncertainties of weather, crop yields, levels of disease, and fluctuations in commodity markets – all of which impact our profitability.   

By product type

There might be a world of difference between raising beef and growing lettuce, but no matter how unique each type of farming is, we farmers can still learn a lot from each other about the many innovative ways to improve sustainability while running a viable business. As the program grows, we’ll be adding more categories so that you can explore the methods different Flagship Farmers are using to grow sustainable operations.