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UK: MacFry Academy opens its doors to potato growers

UK potato growers supplying McDonald’s are set to benefit from the provision of free agronomy skills training to improve crop performance and quality with the launch of the MacFry Potato Academy.

The Academy is a joint initiative between the UK’s National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) and McDonald’s UK and Ireland, in association with potato suppliers McCain Foods and Lamb Weston, aimed at the 209 farmers that supply the potatoes for McDonald’s iconic french fries at their 1,270 restaurants across the UK.

In 2015 McDonald’s made a commitment to source 100 per cent British potatoes for all their UK fries. As the business sources in excess of 280,000 tonnes of British potatoes each year, the MacFry Potato Academy will be a key component in ensuring a vibrant and sustainable potato industry that can secure a growing volume of great quality ingredients.

A select group of farmers attended the inaugural course in February, with five days of intensive classroom training at NIAB in Cambridge. Academy graduates have access to digital crop modelling and irrigation scheduling tools, developed by NIAB CUF, to put the knowledge they have learned into practice on their own farms.

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