The state of Illinois is relaunching a program designed to help protect the environment by paying to take qualifying farm ground out of agricultural production. The Illinois Department of Agriculture and Department of Natural Resources are putting $50 million towards the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) which had previously been discontinued in 2015 due to a lack of funding.
The goals of the CREP program are to reduce sediment and nutrient runoff, improve water quality, and to create and improve fish and wildlife habitats. The program works by making rental payments to landowners to take land out of production.
The CREP Program opened on June 15 and is open to the 68 counties that make up the Illinois and Kaskaskia River watersheds (which include tributaries and other rivers that are part of those watershed systems). You can find out more here: https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/conservation/CREP/Pages/default.aspx