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Senator Gillibrand talks broadband internet access for rural farmers

By ALLISON NORLIAN

HARTWICK, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Senate and Congress now have another amendment in the Farm Bill to look at before passing it as Senator Gillibrand fights to expand broadband Internet access to rural areas.

Gillibrand spoke on Wednesday at Hartwick college about the proposal. She said the access would provide farmers better and faster internet access, "The goal is to make sure rural counties like Otsego County have access to rural broadband. It's a huge economic engine waiting to be tapped. If our producers whether its our farmers or service providers have access to the internet they can sell their goods and services world wide. It makes the opportunity for job creation."

Gillibrand said the provision would create a new grant within the current broadband loan program, " There's a huge need for it. Not everyone in county has access to high speed internet and it really does affect our business ability to grow so if you are a farmer producing dairy or growing apples...you will have more markets available to you if you have access to the internet."

Farmers will be able to sell their products locally, nationally and even internationally because of their access to the Internet.

James Mumford, a farmer said there are other ways the internet will help farmers, " I use it a lot to find new and used equipment. You can find used parts you'd never thought of. Its pretty handy."

There will be multiple internet hubs including one at Hartwick College. Margaret Drugovich, the President of the college said, " I think that the internet is not the answer but an important tool for people... so it doesn't provide all the answers people think it might but it does provide is access and opportunity for them to seek and equalize access information."

1.1 million people in New York don't have access to high speed Internet, specifically farmers. This would help them stay better connected.

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