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A Special Project of:
Minnesota FFA Foundation

 Career Development Events

Career Development Events build on what is learned in agricultural classes and encourage members to put their knowledge into practice. These events are designed to help a member prepare for a career in agriculture by testing and challenging the student's technical, leadership, interpersonal and teamwork skills as well as their knowledge of the subject matter.

Many CDEs are qualifying events for the National FFA CDE competition and/or offer scholarship opportunities.

Members can compete in CDE's that include:


  • Ag Communications - Each team, consisting of four members, will prepare a communications project proposal for their chapter.  The written proposal will explain the communications activities planned to publicize an event/issue.  The team will also have to present their communications project to a panel of judges.  Each of the team members will also complete individual exercises including editing, a communications quiz, and a practicum relating to news writing, press release writing, broadcasting or graphic design.
  • Ag Sales - Participants complete a fifty question exam and make a sales presentation of an agricultural product with a written project summary.  The participants also complete one of the following four practicums:  customer relations, advertising and promotion, telephone skills or product display.  The team also works together in the competition of a market analysis.
  • Agricultural Issues The Agricultural Issues Forum shall consist of a group of students from the same chapter who identify a key agricultural issue of importance to them and their community. The same group of students shall conduct research, analyze information on both sides of the issue, interact, and participate in group discussion, form independent decisions, and present in a formal setting the results of their work in a positive manner.
  • Agricultural Mechanics   The CDE will include the three recognized areas of subject matter in agricultural mechanics: Agricultural Power and Machinery; Agricultural Structures and Electrification; Agricultural Construction and Soil and Water.   Each contestant will be tested in all three areas The CDE evaluation will involve a written examination, problem solving situations, and mechanical skills.
  • Best Informed Greenhand - The purpose of this contest is to provide an opportunity for Greenhands to compete with those from other chapters in regard to their basic knowledge of FFA.  A written test consisting of 100 multiple choice questions will be taken from the current Official FFA Manual.
  • Creed Speaking - The Creed CDE is designed to develop leadership through providing for member participation in speaking and interpreting the FFA Creed.  The finals will be held in connection with the state convention in St. Paul.
  • Crops- Members compete in areas including plant and seed identification, grain grading, a management test and practicums in various crop areas including soils, insects, seed analysis, pesticides, fertilizer and varietal trials.
  • Dairy Evaluation - Members complete a written exam relating to he dairy industry, evaluate dairy cattle on physical characteristics using linear classification and pedigrees, and give oral reasons explaining their place of a class.
  • Dairy Foods - Members complete a written exam on milk production and marketing, evaluate milk samples for flavor and quality, identify cheeses, evaluate sediment pads and milker parts for defects, demonstrate problem solving skills in distinguishing real and artificial dairy foods, merchandising dairy foods, and current issues in marketing dairy foods.
  • Dairy Handlers Activity - Evaluates member's ability to properly show dairy cattle.  Judging is based on poise of the handlers and their abilities to display animals to their best advantage.  States may nominate at least one contestant in each division.
  • Extemporaneous Speaking - Student contestants will have 30 minutes to prepare and deliver on a topic drawn from several possible subjects related to agriculture.  Judging is based on quality and delivery of the speech and the ability to answer questions from the judges.
  • Farm Management - Members demonstrate knowledge and abilities in applying economic principles to agriculture and agribusiness by completing a written test and solving farm analysis problems.
  • Fish and Wildlife - This Minnesota only CDE consists of identification of twelve specimens in each of four groups: insects, birds, mammals, and fish.  There is also a written test of 15 questions on each of the four groups and a team activity.
  • Floriculture - Members demonstrate proficiency in plant identification, judging plants and arrangements, and skills that include either constructing a bud vase, corsage or floral arrangement. A written exam is also a part of the event.
  • Food Science and Technology - Members will be stimulated by learning activities relative to food science and technology in the food industry. In addition, students will develop a good working perspective for utilizing sound principles in a decision-making process.
  • Forestry - Members demonstrate knowledge through a written exam of basic forestry principles, tree and equipment identification, and demonstration of practical forestry skills, such as forest disorders, forest management, inventory and approved silviculture practices.
  • Job Interview - This CDE provides students the experience of applying for agricultural related position to assist them to attain their occupational goal. Students develop letter of applications, resume, and application form and go a personal interview.
  • Horse - Student contestants evaluate halter classes which include Quarter Horse, Conformation Hunter, Appaloosa, Arabian, Paint and Morgan; or they evaluate performance classes which may include Western Pleasure, Western Riding (Pattern One), reining, English Pleasure (Saddle Seat), Hunter Under Saddle (Hunt Seat), and Hunter Hack. Members give oral reasons explaining their placing of specific classes.

  • Livestock - Members evaluate beef cattle, sheep and swine on physical characteristics and records for market and breeding usage. Members give oral reasons explaining their placing of certain classes.
  • Market Plan - Members develop practical skills in the marketing process through the development and presentation of a plan that promotes a current or proposed agricultural product, supply or service.
  • Meats - Members complete a written test, judge quality yield and grade of beef carcasses and evaluate and place beef, lamb and pork carcasses Students also identify various cuts of meat in relations to species, primal and retail cuts. 
  • Novice Parliamentary Procedure - This Minnesota only CDE, members demonstrate their proficiency at using correct parliamentary procedure in conducting meetings. Contestants discuss chapter events during their mock meeting.
  • Nursery/Landscape Members complete a written exam, identify various nursery plants, judge plant materials and landscape plans and complete practicums in the landscaping area.
  • Parliamentary Procedure - Members complete a written examination and then demonstrate their proficiency at using correct parliamentary procedure in conducting meetings.  Contestants discuss chapter events during their mock meeting.
  • Poultry Evalation Teams consisting of four individuals will evaluate and select live meat chickens and live egg hens.  They will also evaluate and grade ready to cook carcasses and parts of chickens and turkeys, eggs, and further processed poultry products.  They will identify poultry parts, complete a written exam on poultry production and management, and perform a team activity related to poultry science.
  • Prepared Public Speaking - Student contestants write and deliver a six to eight minute speech related to agriculture. Speakers are judged on content and composition, delivery of the speech and their ability to answer questions from the judges.

  • Small Animals - This Minnesota only contest is designed to assess student knowledge, application, analytical, and evaluation abilities, in the area of small animal care, veterinary skills, and pet store management.   
  • Soils - This Minnesota only CDE consists of judging 3 land areas, either pits or soil borings.
  • Talent - This CDE is designed to develop individual or group talent in band or choir. 



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