Agricultural Issues Forum LDE

The event will follow the structure of the National CDE.


  1. Investigate a variety of local, state, national and international issues facing agriculture through classroom instruction.
  2. Engage students in the selection, research, planning and presentation of an agricultural issue with relevance to the local community.
  3. Demonstrate through the portfolio, presentation and questioning an understanding of the principles and fundamentals of agricultural issue analysis.
  4. Connect agriculture students with professionals in the industry as they research and present their forum.
  5. Increase awareness of an agricultural issue at the local, state or national level through presentations of the forum.
  6. Apply teamwork, leadership and communication skills for career success.

Event Rules

  1. The purpose of the agricultural issues forum is to present a current issue to a public audience; therefore, professional ethics and standards are to be considered. Ignoring truthful information, falsifying needed information, using unreliable sources and plagiarism are violation examples which could result in disqualification.
  2. A minimum of three and a maximum of seven students who are actively participating, orally presenting and available to answer the judges’ questions. To be eligible for awards each student must take an active role in the presentation. This includes active participation in the presentation and making themselves available for questions from the judges. Only the certified team members can take an active role in the presentation of materials and use of technology during the presentation.
  3. Presentations may include official FFA dress, costumes, props, skits and other creative paraphernalia.
  4. The date on which the state appoints the team to be the representative to the National FFA Agricultural Issues Forum will be considered as the state qualifying date. This will be substantiated by the state FFA office.
  5. A minimum of three competent and unbiased judges will be provided. They will be instructed not to take sides on the issue(s). Professors and industry representatives are recommended. The superintendent of this CDE will adequately prepare the judges before the event competition.

Event Format

  1. EQUIPMENT PROVIDED- Equipment provided by the event superintendent includes: two easels and a front projection screen. Other equipment is allowed, but the presenting team must provide it.
  2. Each team will conduct a presentation on the issue developed and presented at the local level.
  3. The issue will come from one of the following eight agricultural issue topic areas as listed in the Focusing on Agricultural Issues Instructional Materials ( :
    1. Environmental Issues
    2. Agricultural Technology Issues
    3. Animal Issues
    4. Agricultural Career Issues
    5. Economy and Trade Issues
    6. Agricultural Policy Issues
    7. Food Safety Issues
    8. Biotechnology Issues
  4. The same agricultural issue presentation and portfolio will not be used in subsequent years by the same chapter and/or advisor.
  5. Research on the topic must be current and students must be involved in all the research of the topic and development of the portfolio.
  6. The portfolio should include items described in a, b and c below, and will be limited to ten pages single sided or five pages double sided maximum not including cover page. The cover page will include the title of the issue, the date of the state qualifying event, name, address and phone number of the chapter. A maximum of ten (10) points will be deducted for exceeding the maximum amount of pages and /or for not including the cover page containing required information. Five copies of the portfolio must be sent to the Kansas FFA Office postmarked by the deadline prior to the state FFA convention at which the issue is to be presented.
    1. A maximum of two pages of the portfolio will include a summary of the issue. The purposes of the summary are to provide an overview of the issue and to demonstrate understanding of the principles and fundamentals of agricultural issues analysis. The summary needs to include the course(s) in which instruction occurred and the number of students involved in the instruction on agricultural issues. (See Objective 1.)

      The summary may also include, but is not limited to, responses to the following questions:
      • Why is this issue important now?
      • What is the nature of the issue?
      • Who is involved in the issue?
      • How can the issue be defined?
      • What is the historical background of the issue?
      • What caused the issue?
      • What are the risks?
      • What are the benefits?
        For additional background on these questions, refer to the resource “Focusing on Agricultural Issues Instructional Materials” and review the PowerPoint “Agricultural Issues Analysis” in the Teaching Materials section at:
    2. A bibliography of all resources and references cited which may include personal interviews, when appropriate, and any other supporting material.
    3. In order for a forum to be awarded points, it must have occurred prior to the state qualifying event, and there must be independent verification of the forum presentation date. “Independent” means that verification needs to be provided by someone in the organization or the group to whom the presentation was made. The independent documentation needs to state when, where and to whom the forum was presented. Documentation can include:
      • Letters from organizations
      • News articles, that also include the date of the presentation and/ or the date the article is printed.
      • Photos showing attendance at forums, but also need independent documentation of the date of the forum presentation.
      • If more than one forum is held on the same day, the starting times of the multiple forums held on the same day also must be independently documented.
    4. A chapter must have a minimum of five high quality public forums prior to their state qualifying event in order to receive the maximum of 15 points. In most cases, the date of the state competition is the date of the qualifying event. Forum presentations given after having won the state competition are encouraged, but will not count toward the portfolio score.
      • Multiple organizations attending the same forum will count as one forum.
      • Portfolio judges may take into consideration the quality and quantity of presentations made to audiences outside of the school. No points will be awarded for school presentations to teachers and students. In addition, no points shall be awarded for forums presented as any part of a local or state FFA competition.
      • High quality forums are those presentations made to community groups that would have an interest in the issue. Suggested procedures for setting up these presentations and examples of community groups have been provided in the Agricultural Issues Forum Presenter’s Guide. High quality forums can also be with smaller numbers of individuals who hold elected, appointed or some other official position that will be making decisions on the issue.
      • Examples of low quality forums would be dropping in at a local business and giving your presentation to the workers or going to the home of one of the parents to make a presentation. Low quality forums will receive zero or minimal points.
  7. Time Limits: Five minutes will be allowed for set up. The presentation will be a maximum of 15 minutes in length. The presenters will receive a signal at 10 minutes and 14 minutes. At 15 minutes the timekeeper will announce that time is up, and the presentation will end. A maximum of seven (7) minutes for questions and answers will be allotted. Questions and answers will terminate at the end of seven (7) minutes. Three (3) minutes will be allowed for take-down.
  8. The presentations will be designed to be viewed by the judges. The audience at-large will not be of concern to the presenters.
  9. The judges may ask questions of all individuals of the presenting team. Each individual is encouraged to respond to at least one question from the judges.


  1. Portfolio: 10 single sided pages maximum or 5 double sided pages. (Three parts, 25 points total)
    1. Summary of the Issue, two pages maximum (5 points).
    2. Bibliography (5 points).
    3. Documentation of local forums (15 points).
      • All forums, require independent verification of when, where and to whom the forums were presented, and independent documentation of the time of day the forums were held must be provided.
    4. Maximum of ten points will be deducted for exceeding the maximum number of pages and/or not including cover page containing required information.
    5. Prior to the event, the portfolios will be judged and scored by qualified individuals using the portfolio scorecard. Portfolio scores will be averaged and supplied to the presentation judges after they have scored the presentation. Portfolio comment cards will be completed by portfolio judges and presented to the teams at the awards function.
    6. Proper grammar, correct spelling, and proper editing of text are important. The most current edition of The American Psychological Association (APA) style guide should be used for all research citations. Adherence to these editorial guidelines is expected to receive maximum points for the portfolio score.
  2. Team Presentation
    1. Introduction, Pro, Con and Summary of Pro and Con (20 points each, 80 points total)
    2. Effectiveness of Presentation (20 points)
      1. Participation of each tea member.
      2. Creative in how main points are made. (It makes no difference, for the “creative” score, if team is in costume or official FFA dress.)
      3. Quality and power of the presentations.
      4. Speaks at the right pace to be clear.
      5. Pronunciation of words is clear and intent apparent.
      6. No distracting mannerisms that affect effectiveness.
      7. Gestures are purposeful and effective.
      8. Well poised with good state presence.
    3. Questions (25 points) – Appropriate response and knowledge of the issue will be evaluated from team members’ responses.
    4. There will be a five point deduction from the scorecard of any team that draws a conclusion supporting a pro or con viewpoint during the formal presentation. During the question period, students may draw a conclusion supporting a pro or con viewpoint if asked to do so by a judge.
    5. Presentation comment cards will be completed by presentation judges and presented to teams at the awards function.
  3. Judges’ ranking will be used to place teams. Teams shall be ranked in numerical order on the basis of the final score to be determined by each judge without consultation. The judges’ ranking of each team then shall be added, and the winner will be that team whose total ranking is the lowest. (Low rank method of selection where rank of “1” is assigned to the highest place team, “2” to the second place team, etc.)


Ties will be broken based on the greatest number of low ranks. Team’s low ranks will be counted and the team with the greatest number of low ranks will be declared the winner. If a tie still exists, then the event superintendent will rank the team’s response to questions. The team with the greatest number of low ranks from the response to question will be declared the winner. If a tie still exists then the team’s raw scores will be totaled. The team with the greatest total of raw points will be declared the winner.


This list of references is not intended to be inclu­sive. Other sources may be utilized and teachers are encouraged to make use of the very best instructional materials available. The following list contains references that may prove helpful during event preparation.

Updated Focusing on Agricultural Issues Instructional Materials located at: can be purchased through The Core Catalog, National FFA Organization.

Agricultural Issues: Ground Water Safety Video, The Core Catalog, National FFA Organization Document entitled: “Helpful hints to give your students the best opportunity to do well in the Agricultural Issues Forum Career Development Event at the State and National FFA Conventions” can be found on the Agricultural Issues Instructional Materials website listed above and the National FFA Website at the following link: documents/cde_agissues_resources.pdf