Agriculture Communication


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FFA Ag Communications CDE

NDSU Agriculture Communication is pleased to host the annual North Dakota FFA Agricultural Communications Career Development Event.

The North Dakota event follows most, but not all, of the national Ag Comm CDE guidelines. See the Agricultural Communications CDE website for event rules and preparation resources.

The 2017 media plan scenario is:

Your chapter's Ag Communication Committee has been approached by a State FFA Association to select and promote one of your FFA members to various media outlets about the benefits of FFA membership. Your committee will decide what is included in the promotion of this member. This promotion might include one or more of the following: SAE Program, a special project, event or issue/challenge, or other attributes associated with the FFA member. Please remember that the plan should also focus on promoting Agriculture Advocacy. 

A single PDF file of the media plan must be emailed to Becky Koch by 5 p.m. Monday, June 5.

    2017 practicums are:


    Activity: Web Page Layout
    Hardware and Software: PCs. Create in WordPress. Must have your own WordPress account before the competition. NDSU computer lab has other software available for developing graphics for your WordPress pages.

    Required elements:

    • A main page and a page that it links to
    • Banner
    • Background color
    • External link (linking to another site)
    • Internal link (linking your two pages together)
    • Logo
    • Photo(s) and/or graphic(s) with captions
    • Email link
    • Contact information

    Web pages will be evaluated on:

    • Overall attractiveness
    • Technical skills
    • Use of design principles
    • Neatness and creativity
    • Choice and placement of photos and graphics
    • Usability and navigation

    Electronic Media Specialist

    Activity: Social Media (Facebook and Instagram)
    Hardware and Software: PCs. Must have your own Facebook and Instagram accounts before the competition. However, judges will not access your accounts. Facebook posts will be posted in a North Dakota FFA Ag Comm CDE Page, and Instagram posts will be printed for judging.

    Required elements in both Facebook and Instagram:

    • Photo and/or graphic
    • Text
    • Hashtag
    • Location
    • Tag of a friend (warn them it's coming)

    Social media posts will be evaluated on:

    • Effective use of medium
    • Technical skills specific to activity
    • Power of expression
    • Creativity
    • Clarity of communication (writing)
    • Organization and format
    • Accuracy of information


    Activity: News story
    Hardware and software: PCs. Microsoft Word.
    Students will receive a brief speaker's bio and fact sheet based on the news conference topic, and they will use their notes from the news conference to write a news story. Use of internet for sourcing external content is not allowed.

    News stories will be evaluated on:

    • Lead/focus
    • Accuracy of information and quotes
    • Clarity and conciseness
    • Correct style (AP)
    • Depth of coverage
    • Header/headline
    • Grammar, spelling, punctuation and word choice
    • Organization and format
    • Accomplishment of purpose
    • Use of internet for sourcing external content is not allowed.

    The news story must include:

    • Details about the announcement/event
    • A quote from the news conference speaker
    • Contact information

    The North Dakota contest will follow the national contest guidelines but with these exceptions:

    • Teams will consist of three to five members. No more than two members may complete each practicum (design, electronic media and writing). For example, a five-member team may have two members complete the design practicum, one complete the electronic media practicum and two complete the writing practicum. The team's top score in each practicum and top three test scores will count toward the team score.
    • Top individuals in each practicum will be honored at the convention.
    • Only one test will be included each year: the editing exercise in odd years and the communications quiz in even years, so only 75 points are possible (25 points per member).
    • For the design practicum, members may use Microsoft Publisher or Word. Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign) is available but not required.
    • When the electronic media practicum requires video, members may use Movie Maker. Adobe Cloud Premiere is not required.
    • Teams will not be seated by practicum group in the news conference.
    • The "press packet" will be very basic background on the topic on the instruction page each team member receives at registration. However, graphic designers and electronic media specialists will have access to photos, tables, logos, dummy text and other resources necessary to complete their work.
    • For presentation of the media plan, a PC and projector will be provided so teams may bring their presentations on a flash drive and/or have it stored in the cloud. However, bringing your own laptop and projector for backup is a good idea. Easels also will be provided.
    • A single PDF file of the media plan must be emailed to Becky Koch by 5 p.m. Monday, June 6, instead of bringing paper copies to convention.
    • Bring a notepad or clipboard with paper and pens or pencils or a laptop to take notes during the news conference.

    To help North Dakota FFA members prepare for this CDE, students may:

    • Review this recording of the April 15, 2015, walk-through webinar.
    • Review this recording of the April 29, 2015, walk-through webinar.
    • Review the 2014 first-place, second-place and third-place media plans. See the National FFA Ag Communications CDE website for required elements.
    • Download the free Microsoft Windows Movie Maker software to practice.
    • In the years a blog post is evaluated, it must include:
      • Two blog posts in one Word document (we’re not using Wordpress or another blog software program because we want to evaluate your ideas, not your software skill)
      • An introduction that includes who the target audience is for the blog
      • An About Me section that includes contact information
      • At least one photo or graphic in each blog post, citing the source of each
      • At least one link to an external site in each blog post
      • A date or dates for each blog
      • A comments policy
    • In the years a one-page flier is evaluated, review this example.The flier is not required to be created in InDesign, but can be created in Publisher. Required elements are:
      • Headline(s)
      • Logo(s)
      • Photo(s) and/or graphic(s)
      • Contact information

    For questions about the North Dakota Agricultural Communications career development event, contact Becky Koch via email or at 701-231-7875.

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