Career Development Event » Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How many members can be on a team?

The Area contests will only count the top three scores when determining team scores. At the State contests, all contests will count all four individual scores when determining the team score.

How do I learn about a CDE?

That's what this website is supposed to help you with. Simply click on a CDE and you can learn about a CDE, what's included in a contest, and how to train.

When are CDEs held?

In Wisconsin, CDEs are held in early spring. The area contests are held in March and the State contest is always the last Friday in April in Madison. The area contests are held in Janesville, UW Platteville, MidState Tech (Marshfield), UW River Falls and FVTC.

What if I don't know anything?

That's what is great about the FFA, you can learn! You don't need to start as an expert – you can become an expert.

Who can enter CDEs?

Any State FFA member in grades 7 to 12 is eligible to compete at the State FFA Career Development Events. State winning teams advance to the National contests, so some contestants at the National contests are just out of high school.

How many times can I enter a contest?

You can enter the same CDE each year you are eligible to compete or you can enter a different CDE. Generally, once a member is on a winning team they are ineligible to compete in that contest again. The one exception is if the contestant could not compete at the National Contest because of a National FFA rule.

How do I qualify for the State contest?

There are seven CDEs where teams must 'qualify' to compete at the State contest. These are very popular areas and there isn't room to handle all the teams at Madison. These CDEs are: Floriculture, Dairy Cattle, Livestock, Horse, Ag Mechanics, Wildlife and Veterinary Science. Teams must 'qualify' at an area contest. Teams can try to qualify only once. Teams may be able to 'practice' at some area contests but you can try to qualify only once. All the other State CDEs are open to those teams that enter. Some contests have a space limit so teams are limited, that's why it is important to enter early.

If my team wins the State Contest, can I do same CDE next year?

Generally, if a team wins the State CDE, those team members are ineligible to compete in that same CDE again. If a member competes in the National CDE they can not compete again in that contest area. Here is the one exception: if a member can not compete in the National CDE because of a National FFA rule, they can come back and compete in that State CDE again. (this happens if someone qualifies for Nationals in both a CDE and an LDE - National FFA says you can't do both)

How difficult is it to win a contest?

The teams that win CDEs generally put a lot of effort into learning the material. If you want to be successful it is suggested to start studying early. In Floriculture, there are around 200 plants to learn to ID. If you start preparing at the beginning of the school year you only have to learn two per day.

Do CDEs complement classroom instruction?

Absolutely! CDEs are great to include as part of classroom instruction or as an end of class project.

Proper attire for CDE - Some contests require Official Dress, some like Meats, require a hard hat and lab coat and there are contests that require safety glasses or specialty gloves.

But also this is an FFA event and participants MUST dress appropriately! These students represent their schools, their parents as well as the entire FFA organization. This is a great opportunity for members to wear FFA shirts. It IS NOT a place to wear clothing depicting any insensitive, social or political messages. Students wearing extremely short shorts, cut off t-shirts, etc. might be okay at the IS NOT acceptable at an FFA event.

Part of our job as adults is to set the tone for what is acceptable. I suggest you set some Chapter rules so all your students understand. If students are deemed to be dressed inappropriately at any FFA competition, they will be ineligible to participate in the competition. We appreciate your cooperation.