Program Overview

The Fantasy Farming Challenge is a program in which students design a field making some of the choices a farmer does each growing season. Based loosely on the premise of fantasy football, the field, or “stadium,” is a 10’x100’ plot of land onto which the students make six key choices to grow a small crop of corn. The challenge teaches the students the risks and challenges of farming by giving them a tangible, hands-on experience with a field of their own.

While farmers have to make about 40 different decisions regarding their crops and land from year to year, the students must make choices about the following six components:

  • Seed product selection, with or without soil insecticide
  • Early, mid, or late planting date
  • Nitrogen application
  • Fungicide application
  • Plant population
  • Row spacing

Each choice has a cost associated with it, so like farmers, students can weigh the cost and benefits of the choices they make on their mini farm.
The plots are grown at the Monmouth Learning and Agronomy Center in Monmouth, Illinois. There are a total of 17 participating schools. The students make the choices for their plot of land in the spring (planting) season and then take a field trip in the Fall near harvest time to see how their crop has fared.

After harvest, two prizes are awarded: one prize goes to the school that produced the highest yield, and one goes to the school that earned the most profit. Since only 17 schools can participate in the challenge, starting in 2015, the Fantasy Farming Challenge will be featured on the America’s Farmers website under the Learn About Farming tab. There, anyone can read about farming, see photos of the students’ plots as they develop, and learn the results of the challenge in the Fall.

About Monmouth Learning and Agronomy Center
Monmouth Learning and Agronomy Center was developed to provide answers and solutions to essential questions and issues about production agriculture. The Learning Center is located on a 480-acre research farm and shares agronomic solutions to help farmers with the forefront of sustainable agriculture. Each season guests can see over 100 field demonstrations that showcase the latest advances in sustainable farming and an overview of the research conducted onsite to bring the next generation of solutions to better meet the needs of farmers and consumers.

About Troy
Troy manages the Monmouth Learning Center where over 5,000 farmers, academics and community members come each year to learn more about sustainable farming solutions and agronomic practices. A former Agriculture High School Teacher and FFA Advisor Troy has a passion for teaching Agronomics, Ag Science and Plant Biology. He has led the Fantasy Farming Challenge since 2013, giving the opportunity for hundreds of high school students to understand the choices farmers have to mitigate risk against the challenges of weather, disease, weed management and insect pressure.