China says it plans to increase grain output by putting 1.67 billion mu (111.27 hectares or 276.6 million acres) of additional land under farming this year. Agriculture Minister Han Changfu said different regions in the country will take advantage of their agricultural features to increase the acreage of high-yield crops, the Xinhua News Agency reported. Han called on agricultural departments at all levels to increase subsidies for farmers and take steps to reduce grain output losses from unfavorable factors, such as weather-related disasters. Weather forecasters have said a lack of rainfall could result in a spring drought. Taking note of that, the agriculture ministry is encouraging earlier planting this year and putting more young laborers to work, the report said. Raising grain output and increasing farming subsidies are the focus of this year\'s first official government document under the country\'s new leaders. China\'s grain output rose 3.2 percent year-on-year to a record 590 million tonnes (metric tons), the ninth straight year of growth, Xinhua said. A metric ton is about 2,204.62 pound.