UW-River Falls to host 57th Annual Agricultural Technology Contest April 1

March 2, 2017 – The University of Wisconsin-River Falls expects nearly 1,000 students to compete when they host the 57th Annual Agricultural Technology Contest on Saturday, April 1. The contest includes a series of career development events hosted by the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) that allows Wisconsin and Minnesota FFA members to showcase their knowledge.

The contests focus on agricultural communications, agricultural technology and mechanical systems, agronomy, dairy cattle evaluation, farm business management, floriculture, food science and technology, forestry, horse evaluation, livestock evaluation, middle school agriscience, nursery/landscape, soils, veterinary science and wildlife. Students will compete in 15 team events and will have three additional contest opportunities. 

UW-River Falls coordinates the Wisconsin FFA state contests for agricultural communications and food science and technology. First-place teams will advance to compete at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind., in October.

Seven of these events also serve as qualifying contests for the Wisconsin FFA Association Career Development Events (CDE) to be held April 28 in Madison. These events include agricultural technology and mechanical systems, dairy evaluation, floriculture, horse evaluation, livestock evaluation, wildlife and veterinary science.

Unique to the Agricultural Technology Contest, UW-River Falls offers an agricultural education event. This event provides students the opportunity to better comprehend the teaching and learning process, foster leadership and communication skills, and allows students to practice teaching. Students also have the opportunity to compete in the 38th Annual Crop Show. Students competing in the crop show can submit samples into classes ranging from oats to soybeans to the longest ear of corn.

Another highlight of this year's contest is the Power Tool Drag Race. This event changes the type of tool that students use when building their vehicle which makes the contests unique from year-to-year.

The Power Tool Drag Race encourages students to use their problem solving, creative design, research and development and engineering skills. This year students must power their vehicle using a 120-volt corded power tool router other than an angle/side/disc grinder with the goal being to achieve the fastest time. The UW-River Falls Agricultural Industry Club sponsors and coordinates this event. This year, the contest will be held in the newly renovated space in the Ag Engineering Annex.

Each year it takes more than a hundred volunteers to ensure successful contests. Faculty and staff from CAFES serve as chairs for each of the contests. CAFES students volunteer their time as student chairs and assist on the contest day.

Madeline Bode, an agricultural education major from Cassville, is serving as this year's contest coordinator and Alexis Stibor, an agricultural education major from Osseo, is the assistant coordinator. Tim Buttles serves as the faculty chair for the contest and staff member Fay Westberg assists with overall contest preparations.

CAFES offers 14 different majors, including the two newest additions:  agricultural engineering and food science and technology. The new programs are a contributing factor to the growth the college has experienced in recent years. From fall 2015 to fall 2016, enrollment in CAFES increased by nine percent. CAFES incoming freshmen consistently cite the quality programs and strong reputation as the most important factor in choosing UW-River Falls. In 2016, 90 percent of incoming freshmen in CAFES indicated UW-River Falls was their first college choice.

For more details about the contests, visit the Agricultural Education Department website at or email Bode at

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