The Van Trump Report

McDonald’s… What a Crazy Agriculture Success Story

It was on this day back in 1955 that Ray Kroc opened his first franchised McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois. In 1954, Kroc visited a hamburger restaurant in San Bernardino, California, owned by Richard and Maurice McDonald. Kroc was so impressed with the efficiency and speed of the restaurant’s operations, that he convinced the brothers to allow him to franchise the concept. The rest is history… 

Today, close to 2 billion pounds of beef are consumed in McDonald’s restaurants each year, slaughtering millions of head of cattle. McDonald’s Corporation sells more than 1 billion cups of coffee every year in over 100 countries across the globe. It sells 500 million cups of coffee every day in the United States alone. Every year, the corporation purchases 3.4 billion pounds of potatoes from farmers across the world and delivers more than +9 million pounds of french fries to customers. McDonald’s sourced more than 200 million pounds of pork in the U.S. annually as of 2021, with roughly 10% of that coming from Illinois. Every four hours, a new McDonald’s restaurant opens its doors.

Below are just a handful of farms here in the US that help supply McDonald’s with the food they need to operate. It’s crazy when you stop and think about all of the agricultural demand that comes from the fast and casual food chains. (Source: McDonald’s, Wiki, Guardian, BusinessInsider)

Keystone – It all started in Philadelphia with a small family-owned beef business. It all changed with one man’s big ideas and innovative spirit. In the 1960’s, Herb Lotman, sought to freeze beef patties in a way that would keep their taste and texture. This led him to the Individual Quick Freezing process. He introduced the IQF hamburger patty to McDonald’s, which is still used today in our burgers. Keystone proved to be true innovators yet again in the early 1970’s when they teamed up with McDonald’s to develop a total distribution concept. Everything needed to run a McDonald’s restaurant was provided in one customized delivery, enabling restaurant managers to save time and focus on customer service. A few years later, McDonald’s in partnership with Keystone developed Chicken McNuggets®, which revolutionized the way Americans ate chicken. Almost overnight, a huge demand for boneless chicken meat was created. Today, Keystone’s US operations are proud to produce and deliver the highest quality beef, chicken and fish products to McDonald’s, including more than 150 million pounds of beef, 300 million pounds of chicken and 15 million pounds of fish each year. They go above and beyond USDA regulations to meet McDonald’s strict animal welfare, product safety and quality requirements

100 Circle Farms – Grows potatoes in circles so big they’re visible from space. Then their trusted processor, Lamb Weston, cuts them into fries at 70 miles per hour. 100 Circle Farms can dig anywhere from a thousand to twenty-four hundred tons of potatoes per day…and the majority of those will go into McDonald’s Fries.

Milking R Dairy – For married couple and Milking R Dairy owner-operators Sutton and Kris Rucks, dairy farming is more than just their profession, it’s their family history. Born in Okeechobee, Sutton started milking full-time in 1986 when he graduated from high school, and has continued the tradition of a family that raised dairy cows in South Florida since the 1930s. The fourth generation of Rucks are already hard at work on the dairy farm, with daughter Lindsay helping with daily cow and replacement heifer care, and son Garrett overseeing cattle and crop production and maintenance. Together, the Rucks are carrying their legacy of family farming into the future. Today, the Rucks milk a little over 1,300 cows twice a day and produce more than 13,000 gallons of milk daily, some for soft-serve cones at McDonald’s restaurants across the state of Florida.

Jenn Bunger Farm – Potato supplier Jenn Bunger grew up on the farm in Pasco, Washington. Every summer she’d spend her time helping out and as a result, she loves it. Although her father encouraged her to stick with her job as a registered nurse, she couldn’t help but follow her dreams – and her father’s footsteps – and become a full-time potato farmer, providing potatoes for our McDonald’s World Famous Fries. “You get to literally see your hard work grow,” says Jenn. “We take a lot of pride in not only growing potatoes, but growing the quality that McDonald’s wants… I wouldn’t trade this life for anything. It’s what I love.” 

Leo Dietrich & Sons –
At their orchard in Conklin, Michigan – on a plot of land that the family has owned since the 1850s – Leo Dietrich & Sons hand-pick apples at their peak of ripeness. This means they pick about 10,000 apples a day during harvest season. So how do they produce so many? With the help of honey bees to pollinate the trees and Pheromone traps to reduce the need for pesticides, Leo Dietrich & Sons supply many of the crisp, juicy apples that are used to produce the apple slices that go into a McDonald’s Happy Meal®.

Hildebrandt Farms – On an 1,800-acre farm just south of the Illinois-Wisconsin border, the Hildebrandt family continues a legacy of dairy farming that goes back four generations. Run by married couple Ken and Amy Hildebrant and Ken’s brother, Don, the milk from Hildebrandt’s family-run dairy ends up in some of the soft serve ice cream at McDonald’s locations throughout a 150-mile radius from the farm.

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