The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has long been a fixture among the land use options available to U.S. farmers. But participation has declined over the years, especially in times when grain markets offer farmers more incentive to put sometimes marginal land into production. To offset that decline, and as part of an industry-wide move to ramp up general ag conservation and carbon-capture efforts, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials announced an increase in CRP payments in an effort to sign up 4 million new acres. Cost-share payments were cut from 40% to 20% in recent years for continuous CRP acres, but Wednesday’s announcement bumps those cost-share incentives to 50%, essentially meaning a landowner faces no out-of-pocket expenses to implement most program practices. The program also got a financial boost for Climate-Smart Practice Incentive payments for landowners establishing trees, planting perennial grasses, building wildlife habitat or restoring wetlands. The increase includes an additional $330 million for 85 new regional conservation program projects. See more on the CRP changes.