“I felt like I was addicted to the game.” That comment from an Indiana grower, was similar to the thoughts of the six winners in the 2005 MarketMaxx game from The Corn And Soybean Digest.

MarketMaxx, which began its second year on Jan. 3, involves players who market a fictitious 100,000 bu. of corn and 50,000 bu. of soybeans. The top three farmers who marketed their simulated grain at the highest price in the separate corn and soybean contests before the game ended Oct. 31 were declared winners for the 2005 contest.

There were more than 3,500 players in the 2005 game, which was sponsored by Massey Ferguson, Mid-Tech, Syngenta Crop Protection and Crop1 Insurance, along with The Corn And Soybean Digest.

Players came from every corn and soybean producing state. Once the final simulated bushels were sold and the prices tallied, there were two winners from Indiana, one from Iowa, one from Illinois, one from Nebraska and one from Washington state.

First place in the corn marketing contest went to Marcus Spotts of Nora Springs, IA, who won one-year's use of a new Massey Ferguson MF 9000 Self-Propelled Combine (up to 100 separator hours of a use), a prize valued at $12,000.

First place in the soybean marketing contest went to Seth Taylor, a farmer and hog producer from Owensville, IN. He received one-year's use of any new Massey Ferguson tractor in the MF 7400 or MF 8400 series (not to exceed 250 hours), also valued at $12,000.

Second-place winner in the corn contest was Tom Edic, an east-central Nebraska grower from Lincoln. Second-place in the soybean contest was Graham Utter, Jacksonville, IL. Both farmers receive a new Lightbar GPS Manual Guidance System from Mid-Tech, valued at $3,750.

Lou Hesse was third-place winner in the corn contest. He is a central Washington grower from Moses Lake. Third-place in the soybean contest was Dennis Moughler, Butler, IN. Each will receive a new computer system from Syngenta Crop Protection, a $2,500 value.

All winners expressed positive reasons for playing the game, not to mention the prizes they won.

“I like the fact that there was no pressure from having margin calls,” says Spotts. “I really like the way you could place orders. I was always learning something during the contest.”

Taylor, who is a farrow-to-finish hog producer, says the games helped him become more familiar with corn and soybean contracts on the Chicago Board of Trade. “You could say I was taking an opposite approach,” he says. “I am usually trying to buy those commodities at the lowest price possible through the soybean meal and corn contracts.”

Utter notes that the MarketMaxx game “took the emotion out of trading” futures and options. “I did it by the book,” says Utter, who is eager to install his GPS lightbar system at his corn, soybean and wheat operation.

Edic farms more alfalfa than he does corn and beans, and is a computer programmer. “The game was a lot of fun,” he says.

Hesse has about 4,000 hogs and grows corn in central Washington. He and his wife played the game, “and love it.” He has been asked to write a marketing column for his local grain board.

Moughler found himself spending a lot of time on the www.MarketMaxx.net Web site during the game. His goal was to learn all he could about corn and soybean marketing. “When I entered I was as green as could be,” he says, now with a little more market savvy after playing MarketMaxx.

The 2006 MarketMaxx game officially began Jan. 3. Those who played the first MarketMaxx are automatically signed up.

Anyone can play the game, including farmers, ag lenders, Extension agents or students. But only contestants who are crop farmers are eligible to win. The contest is open to anyone 18 years of age or older as of Nov. 1, 2005, who is actively engaged in crop farming and has not served as a licensed commodity broker within the last five years.

As in the 2005 contest, the winner of the corn contest will receive a year's use (not to exceed 100 separator hours) of a Massey Ferguson MF 9000 Self-Propelled Combine, valued at $12,000. The soybean winner will receive a year's use (not to exceed 250 hours) of his choice of any Massey Ferguson tractor in the MF 7400 or MF 8400 series, valued at $12,000. Additional prizes will be awarded to other placings.

Along with a chance to win great prizes, the www.MarketMaxx.net site features timely market commentary. It also includes a marketing library and a guide to developing your own marketing plan. Charts that follow corn and soybean trading are available to site visitors, and there is further information on how you can use data from the Chicago Board of Trade to enhance your marketing program.

Entries can be submitted at anytime up to June 1, 2006. The only way to enter the contest is online via the Internet. You can enter the contests by clicking on the “Sign Up to Play” link at www.MarketMaxx.net.

Only one contest entry per person is allowed, and sponsors won't be responsible for lost or misdirected entries. All entrants must have submitted orders to price their 100,000 bu. of corn and 50,000 bu. of soybeans by Oct. 31, 2006.

Participants in the MarketMaxx game will receive an e-newsletter periodically which outlines the progress of the corn and soybean marketing contests The newsletter will also feature marketing commentary and other news that can impact corn and soybean prices. Upcoming issues of The Corn And Soybean Digest will also have MarketMaxx updates.