Are you an Illinois FFA student, teacher, or leader? I am excited to share the Illinois Corn Growers Association and Illinois Soybean Association have teamed up again to offer the 2nd Annual FFA Water Testing Challenge!

This is an opportunity to learn about the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy and the unique challenges faced by agriculture concerning nutrient loss and runoff, as well as conservation practices that can be implemented on the landscape to mitigate nutrient loss. We invite FFA chapters to develop and test hypotheses about nitrogen movement and potential loss from various production agriculture field settings.

Participants will need to identify a minimum of 3 different locations with differing water sources and management styles at each site. Once all the information has been collected, you will pick one (or more) of the locations tested and create a report explaining your process, hypothesis, results, and provide best management practice recommendations moving forward. Sampling may take place in the spring, fall, or a combination of the two.

Some examples of sampling sites are:

  • Water from a tile line from a no-till soybean field
  • Surface run-off from a conventionally tilled corn field
  • Water from a creek next to a corn field planted with cover crops
  • Water from tile lines from 2 neighboring corn fields; one with a cover crop and one without
  • Water from a tile line and it was a tilled soybean field

The challenge runs from March – October 13, 2023. Final reports must be submitted by November 17, 2023. Cash prizes will be awarded to 1st place ($2,500), 2nd place ($1,250), 3rd place ($1,250), and 4th-10th ($1,000).

If you are interested in participating in the 2nd Annual FFA Water Testing Challenge, contact Megan Dwyer at She will send you everything you need including test strips, background on the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, and details explaining what to include in your final report. You can also contact Megan at 309-200-5163 with any questions.

Check out the winners of last year’s challenge by clicking here!

Share This Story

About the Author: Jennifer Jones

​As Research Agronomist for the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA), Jennifer Jones works on behalf of Illinois soybean farmers in the development and the implementation of conservation agricultural research and outreach programs. She supports research efforts and helps communicate both in-field and edge-of-field research and validation studies to ISA’s farmer audiences; leads demonstration of conservation agriculture practices; and raises awareness of best management and continuous improvement practices for conservation agriculture in Illinois. Contact Jennifer at

Leave A Comment