Congressman Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded California FarmLink with a nearly $600,000 grant.

Funds from the grant will go towards training new farmers, and assisting them in acquiring land, capital and marketing ventures, according to a news release. The money is provided through the USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.

“The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is a vital lifeline to new producers as they seek access to land and capital. I applaud the work of California FarmLink and their commitment to training new and beginning farmers,” Panetta said in the release.

Since 1999, FarmLink, Salinas, Calif., has helped more than 700 future farmers and landowners, as well as closed $7.5 million worth of loans through its loan program, the release said.

“With its capital and land access programs, FarmLink creates opportunities for ethically diverse and sustainable farmers in the Monterey Bay area and across California,” Reggie Knox, executive director for the company, said in the release. “This grant will support farmers who have been in business for at least 3-5 years and are facing the challenge of scaling up and building long-term financial security.”