Press Release

Gillibrand Fights to Extend Priority Access to USDA Funding for Tioga County in 2012 Farm Bill

Jul 2, 2012

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today announced an extension of the Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) Zone designation for Tioga County passed the full Senate as part of the 2012 Farm Bill.

The measure would extend a designation that helps give Tioga County priority access to federal funding from the USDA to help grow the local economy and revitalize rural communities. The current Tioga County REAP Zone designation expires September 30, 2012.  Senator Gillibrand’s measure would extend the designation another five years. After clearing final passage in the Senate, the legislation now awaits passage by the House of Representatives.

“New York’s rural communities have felt some of the very worst of this economic downturn – just the latest in a string of years, if not decades, that have been tough on rural families and businesses,” Senator Gillibrand said. “When our rural communities suffer, our entire state suffers. But I know that our rural communities are home to some of our hardest workers and the best that New York has to offer – from our family farms, to manufactures, to innovative small businesses. When we invest in rural families and businesses, we can re-energize local economies, help attract new businesses and new jobs, and get back to enjoying all that life in rural communities has to offer.”

President of Tioga County REAP Zone Bob Hildebrand said, “Tioga REAP, LDC is very pleased with the efforts of Senator Gillibrand to extend the REAP designation for Tioga County through the new Farm Bill.”

Established in 1999, REAP Zone designations allow disadvantaged rural areas to gain preference for USDA funding. Recent projects that received federal funding in part due to the REAP designation include:

  • Improving sewer and water infrastructure in the Town of Barton as part of the Tioga County REAP Strategic Plan 
  • Renovating the town square and making much-needed park improvements to improve business opportunities and tourism in the Village of Newark Valley
  • Building infrastructure in Tioga County to attract development at the Lounsberry site
  • Providing a Mobile Dental Van to be on-site at schools during school year and at Tioga Opportunities in Owego during the summer to serve needy children and adults