Agricultural Issues Forum

FFA Contest

What is Ag Issues?

Ag Issues is a team of 3-7 FFA students working together to analyze a current agricultural issue, create a portfolio, and develop and deliver a presentation to a judging panel showing both the pros and cons of the selected agricultural issue. This event helps students establish communication skills, critical thinking, and problem solving. It introduces ag students to current agricultural issues prevalent in their community or area.

How to train and ag issues team and some tips of the trade:

  1. First, communicate what an issue truly is to your team. Make sure they understand the importance of analyzing both sides of a problem to accurately communicate in an unbiased manner their findings to make decisions from a more intellectual standpoint.

  2. Study the history and background of issues in question to more fully understand what certain terms mean in light of the background information.

  3. Investigate every form of information available: books, online sources, etcetera. Don’t settle for a single source, even if it is primary. Personal experiences can be of great use in this event, adding liveliness to your arguments. Personally observe the issue if possible and be able to communicate your findings accurately and precisely. Talk with people who know more about the issue than you do. Listen and read: media can be one of your biggest sources. Use the library’s resources, including books, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, etcetera. Don’t get distracted: know what you are looking for before you go in.

  4. Place your research on index cards in order of importance. As you research further, some index cards may become unnecessary, and it is okay to drop that information.

Practice Schedule

The team should practice 4-5 days a week for a minimum of an hour each day. This is to establish a clear understanding of an ag issue, build a portfolio, and begin memorizing the presentation. Practice should include some field trips to talk to someone who is well informed and/or observe their ag issue, as well as some media and library research. After the research is compiled, the portfolio and presentation can begin to be prepared. Practice should also include some complete presentations to various audiences to adequately prepare for competitions

Some of our competitions:

Point Breakdown:

  • Portfolio: ten single pages or five double sided pages maximum, worth 25 points total
-Summary of the issue (2 page max): 5 points
-Bibliography: 5 points
-Documentation of local forums; 15 points
-All forums require independent verification of when, where, and to whom forums were presented, and independent verification of the times of forums if they were conducted on the same day
  • Deductions: max. 10 points are deducted if the portfolio exceeds the maximum number of pages or not having a cover page with the required information.
  • Team Presentation
-Introduction, pro, con, and summary worth 20 points each, 80 total

-Questions: 25 points- responses must reflect team’s knowledge of the issue

-Effectiveness of Presentation- 20 points total

-Each member must participate, presentation must be creative, presentation must be quality, speaking must be clear and paced, pronunciation counts, must have purposeful and directive gestures and no mannerisms distracting to the purpose

  • Tiebreakers
-Tiebreakers can be determined by the team with the greatest number of low ranks. If a tie still exists, a judge will rate the team’s responses to questions. If there is still a tie, then the team with the greatest raw points will when.

Ag Issues Examples

Agricultural Issues Forum Finals - 2014 National FFA Convention & Expo