The Roland Peterson Agricultural Education Science Fair is a competition for FFA members who are interested in the science and technology of agriculture. It is held each year in March on the St. Paul Campus. This event is sponsored by the Cargill company. The 2017 Roland Peterson Agricultural Education Science Fair will be held on March 16, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. in Ruttan Hall. Registration will begin on January 16, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. and will close on March 1, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. Papers must be submitted by 11:59 pm on March 1. To qualify for the Agriscience Fair students must:

  • Be in grades 7 – 12.
  • Conduct a scientific research project pertaining to the agriculture and food science industries and, present their findings to a judge or judges with a display and a report.

Refer to the Agriscience Fair Program webpage at www.FFA.org/agrisciencefair for the most up-to-date edition of the handbook, project rules and components, and rubrics. The winners in each category and division are eligible to compete in the National FFA Organization Agriscience Fair held each fall at the National FFA Convention if they meet the membership and rules qualifications of the National FFA AgriScience Fair found at www.FFA.org/agrisciencefair.


Agriscience Fair Divisions and Categories

Students can compete in the Roland Peterson Agriscience Fair as an individual or with a team.

  • Division 1 - individual member in grades 7 and 8. 
  • Division 2 - team of two members in grades 7 and 8. 
  • Division 3 - individual member in grades 9 and 10. 
  • Division 4 - team of two members in grades 9 and 10. 
  • Division 5 - individual member in grades 11 and 12. 
  • Division 6 - team of two members in grades 11 and 12.

Students can compete in the Roland Peterson Agriscience Fair in one of six categories:

  • Animal Systems
  • Environmental Services/Natural Resource Systems
  • Food Products and Processing Systems
  • Plant Systems
  • Power, Structural and Technical Systems
  • Social Systems

Animal Systems

The study of animal systems, including life processes, health, nutrition, genetics, management and processing, through the study of small animals, aquaculture, livestock, dairy, horses and/or poultry.

Project examples:

  • Compare nutrient levels on animal growth
  • Research new disease control mechanisms
  • Effects of estrous synchronization on ovulation
  • Compare effects of thawing temperatures on livestock semen
  • Effects of growth hormone on meat/milk production

Environmental Services/Natural Resource Systems

*This category will be combined in 2017. Depending on participation, they may be split in the future.

  • Environmental Service Systems: The study of systems, instruments and technology used to monitor and minimize the impact of human activity on environmental systems. 
  • Natural Resource Systems: The study of the management, protection, enhancement and improvement of soil, water, wildlife, forests and air as natural resources. 

Project examples:

  • Effect of agricultural chemicals on water quality
  • Effects of cropping practices on wildlife populations
  • Compare water movements through different soil types
  • Food Products and Processing Systems
  • The study of product development, quality assurance, food safety, production, regulation and compliance and food service within the food science industry.
  • Project examples:
  • Effects of packaging techniques on food spoilage rates
  • Resistance of organic fruits to common diseases
  • Determining chemical energy stored in foods
  • Control of molds on bakery products
  • Effects of the amount of sucrose used in baked goods
  • Use of a triangle test in sensory science

Plant Systems

The study of plant life cycles, classifications, functions, structures, reproduction, media and nutrients, as well as growth and cultural practices, through the study of crops, turf grass, trees and shrubs and/or ornamental plants.

Project examples:

  • Determine rates of transpiration in plants
  • Effects of heavy metals such as cadmium on edible plants
  • Compare GMO and conventional seed/plant growth under various conditions
  • Effects of lunar climate and soil condition on plant growth
  • Compare plant growth of hydroponics and conventional methods

Power, Structural and Technical Systems

The study of agricultural equipment, power systems, alternative fuel sources and precision technology, as well as woodworking, metalworking, welding and project planning for agricultural structures.

Project examples:

  • Develop alternative energy source engines
  • Create minimum energy use structures
  • Compare properties of various alternative insulation products
  • Investigation of light/wind/water energy sources

Social Systems

The study of agricultural areas including agricultural education, agribusiness, agricultural communication, agricultural leadership and sales in agriculture, food and natural resources.

Project examples:

  • Investigate perceptions of community members towards alternative agricultural practices
  • Determine the impact of local/state/national safety programs upon accident rates in agricultural/natural resource occupations
  • Comparison of profitability of various agricultural/natural resource practices
  • Investigate the impact of significant historical figures on a local community
  • Determine the economical effects of local/state/national legislation impacting agricultural/natural resources 
  • Consumer confidence and understanding of food labels 
  • Economic effect of employment rate and meat consumption