UK Arla farmers have just a few days remaining to apply for up to £10,000 in the second round of McDonald’s capital grant scheme.

The grants are part of Farm Forward, McDonald’s long-term programme of support for the UK farming industry.

The McDonald’s Grant Scheme, which launched in March this year, has paid out more than £156,000 so far to 19 farmers around the UK.

The initiative was set up to support the future of the British dairy industry and fund applications that are focused on raising animal welfare standards, providing economic benefit to the farmers business or making environmental improvements.

McDonald’s has committed £500,000 over the course of the year to enable the scheme.

Arla Foods supplies organic milk to the UK supply chain for McDonald’s Restaurants. The companies have a long-standing partnership that has lasted over 30 years and has seen a number of collaborations when it comes to agriculture initiatives.

Improvements already in place

One of the 19 Arla farmers benefitting from the grant scheme is Lancashire dairy farmer Ian Pye, who was awarded £5,000 to help improve animal welfare across his herd with a range of new equipment.

Derbyshire farmer, David Dilks has replaced a 1km section of worn cow track linking two sections of his land, and in Shropshire, organic dairy farmer Chris Jerman has used his £10,000 grant to improve the welfare of his cattle with a new cowshed.

Chris Jerman said: “I was determined to invest in my farm’s infrastructure and build a new cowshed, but was struggling to find the funds.

I’ve applied for Defra grants before, but the process for McDonald’s was much simpler and I think it’s such a great initiative.

"I’m proud to be a part of the McDonald’s and Arla supply chain, especially as they are so committed to reinvesting back into British farming.”

The new cowshed has a fully concreted floor that’s easier to clean and an open ridge ventilation system in the roof that circulates more fresh air. In addition, new technology has been installed along the shed to allow for safer handling of individual cattle.

He added: “You can see that the cows are happier and healthier in there and the new shed is so much easier to keep clean, helping me keep the farm’s productivity up. This investment goes much further than a new piece of technology - it’ll be a part of my farm for the next 50 years."

Research commissioned by McDonald’s Restaurants and conducted by the National Farm Research Unit, found that 88% of farmers believe that high welfare standards are vital to making UK farming globally competitive.

Graham Wilkinson, head of agriculture at Arla Foods UK said: “Investing in initiatives that continue to build animal welfare, health and safety, and environmental standards is a key way we can support this. Our farmer-owners, like Chris, Ian, and David, are testament to its success.

“Our 30-year partnership with McDonald’s has enabled thousands of British farmers to take part in a supportive supply chain which places the welfare of its dairy cows at its heart. Arla’s UK farmers can benefit from the grant scheme and we welcome those who are interested to take advantage of a scheme that has been designed to support them and their business.”

How to apply

Round two of the grant scheme is now open for applications from Arla’s farmer-owners not on a retailer or foodservice aligned contract.

Entries can be submitted online via the Arla farmers’ website. All applications must be completed by midnight on October 31, 2018.