[T]o keep farming viable in Rhode Island, the state is launching a first-of-its-kind program to buy farms at their appraised value and then sell them at an agricultural rate — about 20 percent of the market value.

    "We want these entrepreneurs, these spirited people who want to build an agricultural business, to stay here and not have to leave to find cheaper land in some other state," says Ayars.

    He says keeping farmers in Rhode Island is part of an ambitious long-term goal: By 2060, the state wants to produce half of its own food.

    But the program does have a string attached: While farmers will get the land at a deep discount, the state will retain the development rights. The idea is to make sure the land stays a farm.

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