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Co Armagh farmer crowned McDonald’s UK and Ireland Beef Farmer of the Year

Waringstown producer hails "real honour" as award presented at Great Yorkshire Show

John and Jo-Anne Dobson celebrate with Pete Garbutt McDonald’s Agriculture Manager and Keith Williamson Supply Chain Manager at Linden Foods after John scooped the McDonald’s Beef Farmer Award for UK and Ireland at the Great Yorkshire Show.

Co Armagh Aberdeen Angus producer John Dobson has scooped the McDonald’s UK and Ireland Outstanding Beef Farmer Award.  

The announcement was made during the Outstanding Farmer of the Year awards ceremony held at the Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate this week.

John, husband of former Upper Bann MLA and Kidney Care UK Ambassador Jo-Anne Dobson, has been speaking about his delight at receiving this important recognition, his third prestigious award in just over a year. 

John, from Waringstown, said: “It’s a real honour to receive this award from McDonald’s along with the recognition of the continuous steps which I am taking to produce beef cattle to the highest possible levels of eating quality.

“Looking to the future sustainability of farming is critical as we, individually and as an industry, seek to weather the coming storms.  

“In Northern Ireland we have a proud record of producing world-beating top-quality food and embracing modern technology, techniques and research, which was widely recognised by the judges, is an important part of what I do every day on my farm.

“It’s always been important to me to share my farming experience with fellow producers across the industry as we work together to produce to the highest eating quality beef and to continue to place the customer as the most important element in the supply chain.” 

John supplies beef cattle to McDonald’s through Linden Foods and earlier this year he was also the recipient of the Prince’s Countryside Fund/Marks & Spencer Farm Resilience Award 2018.

Wife Jo-Anne added: “John always puts his heart and soul into everything he achieves and I’m thrilled for him to receive this ‘hat-trick’ of awards in such a short space of time. 

“Richly deserved recognition for our farmers is an important part of appreciating the hard work and effort which they do to ensure the highest levels of animal welfare, maintenance of the countryside and producing to the highest quality standards. 

“Looking to an uncertain future in farming it’s important for young farmers to learn the skills to be able to continue to produce as safely and profitably as possible and I’m proud of John’s achievements, including the time he takes to mentor young farmers.”

Connor McVeigh, Supply Chain Director, McDonald’s UK and Ireland, said: “We have always understood the importance of working in partnership with our suppliers, to ensure that we have a sustainable supply of a great quality ingredients.  

“Many of our key suppliers have worked with the business for decades.  We know that for our business to thrive we need the British and Irish farming industry to thrive too.

“We invest for the long term, working side by side with our suppliers and farmers to make incremental improvements to ensure the future of the industry.”  

McDonald’s first launched the Outstanding Farmer Awards in 2015 to celebrate progressive farmers throughout the UK and Ireland who are demonstrating a creative and innovative approach to implementing the best in sustainable farming practice in their businesses.

Nominees are selected from all corners of the McDonald’s agriculture supply chain across the UK and Ireland with those shortlisted being judged by a team at McDonald’s and FAI Farms on their best practice in all areas of sustainability, but also on their leadership and commitment to advancing knowledge exchange in the farming industry.

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