You hear it at nearly every visit to the coffee shop or co-op. “We can grow all the corn and soybeans in the world. We just don't do a good job of marketing it.” Well, help is here.

MarketMaxx — a new, free Internet game from The Corn and Soybean Digest — is geared to help producers become better marketers. At the same time, players are eligible to win big prizes, including a year's use of a Massey Ferguson combine or tractor, one of two Mid-Tech lightbar guidance systems and one of two computer systems provided by Syngenta Crop Protection.

MarketMaxx trading began last month. Nearly 3,000 players have registered so far. About 50% are from Corn Belt states. But it isn't too late to test your corn and soybean marketing skills. You can register by going to www.MarketMaxx.net and following a few simple steps. Signup continues through May 31 and the game runs through Oct. 31, 2005.

In the game, each player has a fictitious 100,000 bushels of corn to trade, as well as 50,000 bushels of soybeans. You are free to market the grain any way you wish through the use of Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) futures, options or cash sales. At the end of the contest, if the average price for your corn or soybean sales ranks first, second or third for either crop, you win.

There is no charge to play the game, so there's nothing to lose and much to gain. The MarketMaxx Web site provides a lot of information. Along with a more detailed explanation of the rules, there is a tutorial that provides tips on how to market grain.

Players will also learn how to make trades online. In addition, players will have free access to real-time grain quotes for 30 days from the Chicago Board of Trade. You can monitor the live prices of corn and soybeans all day during the free trial.

With information available from MarketMaxx, you'll have the tools to help create your own marketing plan using the fill-in-the-blanks “Marketing Plan Wizard.”

Once you are registered you can determine your progress by going to the Web site at any time. You can view your average selling price and see how it compares with the farmers who are in the lead for corn and for soybeans.

The MarketMaxx Web site also features updated marketing graphs and charts.

You can monitor the charts for corn and soybeans CBOT trading months. You can even use your computer's mouse to view a particular month's chart by guiding your mouse arrow to the commodity markets like C (corn)-Mar05 and Corn (U.S.). Without clicking, the chart changes to that contract's graph.

There are also links to key marketing information sites. The site includes information from Kevin McNew of CashGrainBids.com, (www.CashGrainBids.com) who coordinates the MarketMaxx game.

He describes methods of understanding futures and options markets, how to monitor grain prices, finding and using commodity brokers and other areas of interest to grain marketers, including a fundamental analysis of commodity markets.

The site also features market commentary from Alan Kluis, president of Northstar Commodity Investment Co., a regular contributor to The Corn And Soybean Digest. Contest players also receive a biweekly MarketMaxx newsletter via e-mail. The newsletter features updates on the contest, as well as additional market commentary from Kluis, McNew and noted grain marketing economists across the nation.

“MarketMaxx gives producers valuable market training in real-time commodity markets without the risks,” says McNew. “Not only do they learn how to submit futures and options orders, but they can actively track their account online and see the results of their actions.

“In addition, we make it as ‘real’ as possible. Producers trade in their local cash market based on more than 2,000 cash elevators bids, which are updated each day.”

For further information on MarketMaxx, go to www.MarketMaxx.net and sign up. Then start learning more about marketing the crops you produce so well.