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$385,342 in USDA Rural Development Funds for Old Chatham Sheepherding Creamery in Tompkins County and for the Tioga County Industrial Development Agency was announced last week. Old Chatham Sheepherding Creamery will receive $250,000 for working capital, and the Tioga County IDA will receive $135,342 for a broadband design and engineering plan, as well as a study of the agricultural value chain for producers in Tioga County.

"We care about supporting rural communities across our district and providing fair access to the economic and technological resources residents deserve," said Congressman Tom Reed. "These USDA grants will provide critical aid to local agricultural businesses and fund essential broadband projects that will increase access to high-speed internet. We will continue our push for funding to flow to these areas and others like it across our region. Rural does not mean forgotten."

"Tioga County is thrilled to receive funding by way of the USDA Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program for the Broadband Design and Engineering Plan, which will result in a micro-level, house-by-house engineering project plan that is necessary to expand broadband in Tioga County. The overall goal of this project is to pursue near-universal broadband access within Tioga County for the purposes of improved economic development, and will also assist in closing the information access gap that school-aged children face when they do not have reliable high-speed Internet services to their homes. Tioga County was also very pleased to receive a second USDA RBDG award to implement a county-wide Agricultural Value Chain Study. The goal of this project will be to identify new, desirable local and regional wholesale market opportunities for the county's farmers and to identify specific points where investment, focused resources, or other strategic actions could support the growth and vibrancy of the local farm and food economy. Both of these awards will have positive impacts on local businesses and economic development efforts within the community, and we are looking forward to seeing the long-term opportunities and growth that will result from the implementation of these plans," said Brittany Woodburn, Deputy Director for Tioga County Economic Development and Planning.

"The value-added program is of tremendous assistance to our small creamery business in developing marketing programs for our new products," said David Galton, owner of Old Chatham Creamery. "The program allows us to promote our products to a greater buyer audience sooner than it would have been possible."

The USDA Rural Development program provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. The program aids with infrastructure improvements, business development, housing, community facilities such as schools, public safety, health care, and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit:

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