IL Soybean Association

Apr 04, 2022  |  Today's News |  ICGA |  ICMB |  Conservation

The IL Corn Growers Association and Illinois Soybean Association are teaming up to offer a new water testing initiative challenge for Illinois FFA chapters to learn about nutrient loss and water quality issues facing agriculture. Through this effort, both corn and soybean checkoff programs seek to help Illinois FFA students understand the importance of water quality and sustainable agronomic practices at a field level.  


Illinois FFA chapters who participate will be sent all the necessary supplies to complete this challenge, including resources to interpret their data collection, and to understand what best management practices would be for those tested acres moving forward.


Each chapter must sample water from a minimum of two agricultural sources and a minimum of five different locations with at least three different cropping practices. Chapters need to create a summary report including timing of sampling, field characteristics, and any recent precipitation events. The report should include initial hypothesis, and conclusions drawn after sampling events. It should also include at least one improvement suggestion for one of the fields sampled including best management practices and why those practices should be considered.


Sampling can be conducted all in the spring, all in the fall, or a combination of both. First place prize is $2,500, second and third place is $1,250, and fourth through tenth place earns $1,000 for their chapters.


“This challenge provides both a competitive and educational opportunity for FFA chapters to learn about water quality, sustainability, and how they can affect crops and soil health,” says ISA Utilization Committee Chairman, Jim Martin.  “Partnering with FFA on this initiative allows us to foster an understanding of sustainable production practices in the next generation of farmers and ag professionals.”


“We’re excited to be offering this new program in 2022 and to be partnering with our friends at IL Soybean Association. There’s nothing more fulfilling than helping the youth of FFA discover their talents through hands-on experiences,” says Mark Wilson, Illinois Corn Marketing Board Chair. “As stewards of the land, farmers take conservation seriously so we’re glad the students can explore this firsthand.”


The water testing initiative will be open through November 18, 2022, for Illinois FFA chapters. To participate, contact Megan Dwyer, IL Corn Nutrient Loss Reduction Manager at