Agricultural Mechanics (ATMS)

Agricultural Technology & Mechanical Systems Handbook


Technological advances in America continue to influence the way students must prepare for their futures.

Students entering the workforce need a strong knowledge base and the ability to comprehend the interaction of complex systems. Employers want productive workers and managers that can access and use a broad range of information. The most sought after employees are those who communicate effectively, continue to stay current with modern technology and work successfully and effectively as individuals and as team members. Students with these skills and abilities are more competitive in the job market, receive financial rewards and are selected for advancement.

Agricultural technology and mechanical systems is comprised of strong technical content and complimented by the development of practical, hands-on skills. The subject matter areas and skill development practices have been grouped into five ‘systems’ areas, so named because of the complex interaction and synergistic processes common to agriculture. The term ‘system’ is used to emphasize the interactive relationship between each area of agricultural technology and mechanical systems. These five systems areas are described and examples appear on the pages that follow.

Each agricultural technology and mechanical systems activity is in response to a problem or need encountered in the workplace. The solving of such problems is dependent upon how each decision or solution, imposed on one component, will influence the other system components. Solving one component of a problem without using a ‘systems approach’ can, and often does, result in additional problems. An example of where this has occurred is observed in the many obstacles that agricultural producers currently face regarding environmental pollution, ground water contamination and stricter governmental regulations. Decisions and solutions made in the past 100 years have impacted the environment negatively and resulted in a new set of problems.


See Handbook (Page 3-5)

The Agriculture Mechanics CDE will be conducted at the state convention and will follow the guidelines in the National FFA CDE Handbook. (See link above). Montana will keep the Metals and Welding area instead of Compact Equipment. Montana will not include the team report component of the team activity. Individual skill area rotations will be 15 minutes instead of 25 minutes. The individual exam will consist of 50 multiple-choice questions as opposed to the nationally suggested, 25.


  • Team members will be required to furnish and wear appropriate eye protection (see guidelines in the “National CDE Handbook”).
  • Each individual will furnish and wear coverall, shop coat, or appropriate protective clothing.
  • Special equipment may be required to be furnished by the contestants. Such equipment will be noted in the pre-CDE information provide to chapters prior to the event.
  • Failure to wear appropriate safety protection or working in an unsafe manner could result in removal from that CDE area or disqualification from the CDE.

Event Format

Each team will consist of three or four members.

Team members will work independently on problem solving and skill development activities, and on the written test.

Individual scores and rankings will be based on these areas.

Team members will work together on a team problem solving activity. The team score will be a combination of the three highest individual scores and the team activity. The team activity score is not split among the individuals.

In case of a tie, the win goes to the individual or team with the highest written examination score(s). If still tied, the win goes to the highest problem-solving/skill areas. If still tied, the win goes to the highest team problem solving score.

  • The Agricultural Mechanics CDE will follow the annual national theme, and be developed from the five system areas designated by the “National CDE Handbook”. The event organizers (MSU-Ag Ed) prior to the CDE will provide a list of possible competencies and skills.
  • The focus of the event will be on areas of the Montana Agricultural Education Curriculum. New technologies will be included as they emerge, and are presented to the agriculture teachers.

2018 Montana ATMS Contest Guidelines