Understanding public perceptions of agricultural practices and businesses is important for students entering animal agriculture production and supporting industries. To connect technical content and communication skills in a real-world scenario, teams of students in Ag Systems Technology (AST) 463 - Agricultural Waste Management developed applications for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and students in Animal Science (AS) 389 - Current Issues in Animal Science role-played community members for and against proposed CAFOs. Arguments in favor and against the proposed operations were presented to a panel of mock county zoning board and County Commission members at simulated public meetings. Results from a post-then-pre survey which rated knowledge, awareness, understanding and abilities showed post ratings were higher for all (13) statements (P < .0001) which addressed general awareness of arguments against CAFOs, process of applying for CAFOs, ability to find information relevant to CAFO applications, knowledge of economic, environmental and social arguments, role of accurate data, role of emotions, understanding of manure management, and confidence in abilities to participate in a CAFO approval process a