Rural Economic Area Partnership

In March of 1999, Tioga County, a rural county in New York State’s Southern Tier Region, was designated as a Rural Economic Area Partnership
(REAP) Zone. A REAP Zone is a rural area that has experienced economic distress, and has been selected for inclusion in this program of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a result of its changing economy. Tioga County’s selection was facilitated by the efforts of local U.S.
Congressman Maurice Hinchey. The program encourages a collaborative and citizen-led effort to stimulate economic and community development
within the County. The REAP Program is unusual because it is locally driven, allowing local citizens to identify the unique needs of the County
and to help in determining the best course of action to meet those needs. The mission of the REAP Program is to improve the economic viability,
diversity, and competitiveness of businesses in the Zone; assist local communities in developing cooperative strategies to maintain and expand
essential community functions such as education, health care, housing, transportation, telecommunications, and infrastructure; assist families in
crisis; and provide financial and technical assistance to implement a citizen built Strategic Plan.