Illinois FFA Land Use CDE

Beginning in 2017, soil scientist Scott Wiesbrook has been working with the Illinois Association FFA to update the Illinois FFA Land Use Career Development Events (CDE).

FFA members focus on skill development and career preparation through participation in career development events (CDE) and leadership development events (LDE). These competitive events develop individual responsibility, foster teamwork, and promote communication while recognizing the value of ethical competition and individual achievement. Successful members expand their knowledge base by interacting with peers, teachers, and business and community leaders to gain a comprehensive knowledge about specific career and leadership areas. 

The Land Use CDE specifically asks students to analyze and evaluate sites for land use suitability. Students analyze soil profiles exposed in soil pits, landscape characteristics, and slope at each site. They use these characteristics to evaluate suitability and limitations for either agricultural use or for use as a home site.  They also make recommendations based on their assessment: water management, nutrient application, and appropriate tillage and conservation practices for agricultural sites; and site selection and construction practices, landscape and lawn practices, and suitability for onsite sewage disposal for home sites.

The update to the rules involved an entire revamping of the existing scorecard and associated materials. A guidebook was created to assist teachers and students with this CDE (Franzmeier, D., G. Steinhardt, C. Egler, D. Bowman, and S. Wiesbrook. 2021. Illinois Soil Evaluation Field Book. 50 p. Available online at:

Scott has provided both field and classroom instruction for hundreds of Illinois agriculture instructors since 2018. He hosts field days across Illinois where teachers learn about soils in the classroom and then apply that knowledge to an evaluation of soil pits that afternoon. He also helps soil professionals who serve as section judges become comfortable with the new Land Use CDE rules.

Contact Scott Wiesbrook if you are interested in learning more about the Land Use CDE or similar events.