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A nonprofit in Providence has been awarded nearly $600,000 in federal funding to help expand training opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers throughout Rhode Island.

The state's congressional delegation announced the grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Southside Community Land Trust.

The agriculture department has a beginning farmer and rancher development program. Nationwide, it's awarding $17.8 million for 37 projects to help educate the next generation of farmers.

Southside Community Land Trust will use the money over three years to expand the reach of their training. The program provides training and technical assistance, provides space at farm incubator sites, offers apprenticeships on farms and helps farmers secure their own farmland.

The land trust says more than 425 beginning or aspiring farmers and ranchers are expected to benefit.

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