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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 2016 media plan scenario is:

As the communications committee of your chapter, you have been approached by the members to help develop publicity for an innovative agricultural practice in your school, region or state. (It can be a company, group, organization, practice, class project or technology that is being developed.) Your chapter can decide what the project will be. You have a $10,000 budget for this media plan. Be sure the plan focuses on promotion of the project.

Your team is not required to budget the full $10,000. Be realistic by researching actual costs of local advertising, copying, etc.

The media plan must focus on promotion of the project, not development of the project itself.

The media plan will be evaluated, not the project itself. A single PDF file of the media plan must be emailed to Becky Koch by 5 p.m. Monday, June 6.

    2016 practicums are:


    Activity: Magazine cover layout
    Software Available: Microsoft Publisher and Word (Adobe Creative Suite – InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator -- is available but not required)
    Specific technical skills for practicum:

    • Effectively promotes speaker, organization and/or topic
    • Overall aesthetics of design
    • Use of graphic design principles
    • Neatness and creativity
    • Choice and placement/cropping of photos and graphics
    • Writing and editing (specific to activity)
    • Use of design templates is not allowed.

    Electronic Media Specialist

    Activity: 30- to 60-second promotional video
    Software Available: Microsoft Windows Movie Maker (Adobe Creative Suite – InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator -- is available but not required)
    Students will be given a selection of video clips, photos and music and will create a 30- to 60-second video that promotes the client’s product or service. Students will not record a voice track.
    Specific technical skills for practicum:

    • Promotes the speaker or speaker's organization
    • Demonstrates good video production quality (no black flashes, jump cuts, sudden movements, or shaky video; and has consistent audio)
    • Power of expression
    • Creativity, clarity of communication, organization and format
    • Accuracy of information
    • Use of Internet for sourcing external content is not allowed.

    The 30- to 60-second promotional video must include:

    • At least one video clip
    • At least one still photo
    • At least one title slide
    • At least one logo or other graphic
    • Provided music for the audio track (no narration)


    Activity: News release (not a feature story)
    Software Available: Microsoft Word
    Students will receive a brief speaker's bio, a brief fact sheet based on the news conference topic, and they will use their own notes from the news conference to write a news release.
    Specific technical skills for practicum:

    • 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
    • Use of internet for sourcing external content is not allowed.

    The news release must include:

    • Details about the upcoming 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.
    • For the electronic media practicum, 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. 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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