State FFA Finals at Cal Poly

FFA student using a clinometer to find tree height at the Tree Measurement portion of their contest.

On Saturday, May 5th, Cal Poly hosted the State FFA Finals. Nearly 1600 students traveled from 125 high schools with Agriculture Education programs to participate in Career Development Events, CDE. These students formed nearly 400 teams participating in one of the 19 State FFA Finals contests. The State FFA Final participants worked diligently to prepare for this contest as members of the National FFA Organization that you may know as the “Future Farmers of America.”

CDE’s help students expand their skills for potential careers in the agriculture industry and develop critical thinking and communication skills. A few of the CDE’s include Floriculture, Dairy Cattle Evaluation, Agriculture Mechanics and Forestry.

The Forestry CDE participants used clinometers to evaluate tree height, scaled logs, and identified common wood type, tools and tree and plant species. “The Forestry CDE requires students to demonstrate their skills in diagnosing forest disorders, managing forests and forest inventory and applying approved silviculture practices.” Students in this event learn the basic information needed to enter the natural resources field.

Many of the Cal Poly students that helped to lead the contest Saturday, like me, where once FFA members. Founded by a group of young farmers in 1928, the FFA is a part of an agriculture education model that incorporates classroom/laboratory instruction, FFA leadership and training and supervised agriculture experience, SAE, work based learning. The FFA’s mission was to “prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population.” The first place teams will Advance to the National FFA Career Development Event in Indianapolis Indiana this fall. Cal Poly is extremely proud to host the State event yearly.

Through agricultural education, students are provided opportunities for “leadership development, personal growth and career success.”

More information about FFA can be found at


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