A Crazy Week for Weather on the High Plains

Nov 19, 2015
Severe Studios

it’s been a crazy weather week on the High Plains. You name it, we’ve seen it. The flatlands have experienced snow, rain, tornadoes, hail, and unseasonably warm weather.

Most High Plains States Oppose Syrian Refugees

Nov 19, 2015
Santi Palacios / AP photo

Opposition to the U.S.’s plan to accept Syrian refugees continues to grow. As of this writing, more than half of U.S. governors say Syrian refugees are not welcome in their states, reports CNN. As might be expected, resistance to Obama’s plan to accept refugees falls almost completely along party lines. All but one of the 31 opposing governors are Republicans.  

Ongoing Orchard

Nov 18, 2015

Just when I should probably be cutting back on the size of my horticultural investments, and planning a smaller and more manageable homefront, I've decided to plant some more fruit trees!  After a summer of no fruit, due to late hard freezes last spring, and after taking a hard and realistic look at the fading health of the old trees, I couldn't face a future with no peaches or nectarines.  So now I'm filling in the gaps, extending the drip system, and getting ready to face some fabulous fruit in the future!  

Women-Owned Businesses Are Thriving, Study Shows

Nov 18, 2015

Women-owned businesses are booming in the US, reports the Center for Rural Affairs. As of 2012, there were almost ten million businesses in America owned by women. That’s a rise of almost 28 percent in just five years. Profits for these businesses were up by over a trillion dollars over the same period.

Andy Marso / Kaiser Health Institute

From the Kansas Health Institute:

‘Right to Try’ bill would ease access to trial drugs, but some worry about potential consequences.

Signs of the toll amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has taken on Kelli Johnsen’s body are scattered throughout the living room of her Emporia home.

A wheelchair in one corner. A lift in another. A walker near the television.

Nasa HQ Photo / Flickr Creative Commons

Texas Congressman Lamar Smith recently rejected the notion that he doesn’t believe in human-caused climate change, reports The Texas Observer. The chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology instead insisted he’s merely a “semi-skeptic.” Smith said he doesn’t know how much effect people are having on the climate. “I think the human component may actually be a small fraction of the contributing forces on climate change,” he said.

Five Syringes Is Five too Many

Nov 17, 2015
Layton Ehmke

While abandoned farmsteads are quite common and are one of our links to the past, at the same time, they represent a link to the present that I’d like just as soon to go away.

Here on our farm in Lane County, we’ve got a number of those farmsteads complete with abandoned farm homes, outbuildings and barns. In several cases, we’ve burned or buried them. And judging by a recent experience, we’ve got more work to do in that department.

US Drought Monitor: Great Plains Experiencing Relief

Nov 17, 2015

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has released the latest US Drought Monitor update. Things are looking up for the Great Plains. Kansas has experienced beneficial light-to-moderate precipitation, and Colorado saw some precipitation fall as snow. While parts of Eastern Kansas and Oklahoma are experiencing abnormally dry conditions and even moderate drought, the western plains areas of those states seem safe for now.

Mose Buchele

Texas’s state nut is looking to make a comeback. Pecans were all the rage in the 60s, but then the almond took over. Since then, the US almond crop has grown 33-fold. But now, StateImpact Texas reports that things are looking up for the Lone Star staple. The USDA has allowed the pecan industry to start something called a “federal marketing order.” This will allow pecan producers to pool their money and market their product.


While organic crop production continues to grow in the US, organic crop acreage is still a tiny percentage of overall crops, reports The Rural Blog. The number of organic crops produced almost doubled from 2002 to 2011, but has not made a huge dent in the US total. Organic crops account for less than one percent of the total acreage of any given crop.

Collective Soul

See What You Started By Continuing is the brand new album from rock band Collective Soul, released on October 2.

Bassist Will Turpin joined Ryan Gottlieb in conversation about the new album, songwriting, and even un-released songs from the band!

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Hunters and birders have more in common than might be assumed. Both support the conservation of wetlands and other bird habitat. Some people even identify themselves as both a hunter and a birder, as well as a conservationist. Yearly purchase of the Duck Stamp is an excellent way to actively support bird conservation.

In Integrity Rankings, Every State Scores Poorly

Nov 16, 2015
Center for Public Integrity

The Center for Public Integrity has released its 2015 State Integrity Investigation, reports The Rural Blog. The rankings are based on various measures of legislative integrity, transparency, and accountability. And the news isn’t good. No state scored higher than a C overall.

USDA Continues to Invest in Ogallala Relief

Nov 16, 2015

The US Department of Agriculture will invest $8 million next year toward helping farmers and ranchers conserve water from the Ogallala Aquifer, while still maintaining and strengthening agricultural operations, reports Agri-Pulse.

A Kansas Legend Comes Home

Nov 16, 2015
Travis Heying / The Wichita Eagle

Legendary Kansas Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker has returned home for good, reports The Wichita Eagle.

Kassebaum was the second woman to be elected senator in her own right, not preceded by a husband or appointed to fulfill an unexpired term. She served proudly in the US Senate from 1978 to 1997. Through the entirety of her re-election campaigns, she won more than 70 percent of the vote.

Hart van Denburg / Colorado Public Radio

Despite a booming economy in Colorado, the state is experiencing a $373 million budget gap, reports Colorado Public Radio. The gap is between what the state will owe and what it will bring in starting in July 2016.

Lars Baron / Getty Images

Texas Governor Greg Abbott's office appears to be backing out of its support for Formula One racing in the Lone Star State, reports Car & Driver.

Geography is “where it’s at”… and so much more!!

Debra and Lynn spotlight geography through GPS (Geography in Popular Song) to kick off Geography Awareness Week.

Join Debra and Lynn for a celebration of geography, in conjunction with Geography Awareness Week. It's all about songs about places, a Geo-trivia contest and prizes during Silver Rails, Saturday, November 14th at 1pm CST.

During this 2-hour special you'll hear a great folk music—in the geographic tradition-- from around the world, and get quizzed on your geography knowledge!  Grab your thinking cap, telephone and a computer, so you can call 1-800-678-7444 to answer questions and so you can identify the picture-quiz portion of the show, here on our website.

National Geographic World maps and inflatable globes will be provided for the quiz show winners and of course you'll also enjoy the bragging rights that come with being a geography quiz master!

Real Men Cook

Nov 13, 2015

Both hosts of High Plains Outdoors, Larry and Luke, relish spending time in the wide, untamed spaces hunting and fishing, but for these two men, it's not simply about a successful hunt, it's about cooking what you bring into camp.

Living rural means viewing stars without light clutter, neighbors helping neighbors in good times and bad, and signaling every driver you meet with a two-fingered wave. It also means shopping takes effort, and running a successful business takes even more. Despite difficulties, creative folks find ways to provide services others need. I could rave for pages telling why I like shopping local where I feel welcome and my commerce keeps money in the region. I love my small town bank, mechanic, stylist, grocery, drug, and hardware stores.

Colorado Health Co-Op Folds

Nov 13, 2015

Rick and Letha Heitman, of Centennial are customers of the cooperative Colorado HealthOP, which is folding.Credit John Daley / CPR NewsEdit | Remove

NPR Develops Podcast Recommendation Site

Nov 13, 2015

Over the past few years the popularity of podcasts has exploded. The term covers a wide range of programs, from interviews and journalism to comedy and storytelling. With the rise of smartphones, many people take their entertainment with them in their pocket these days. Podcast lovers—or those curious about the medium—have reason to rejoice this week, according to

Brandon Thibodeaux / New York Times

Texas wind farms are generating so much energy that some utilities are giving power away, reports the New York Times. TXU Energy is making a bold attempt to change the way Texans consume energy.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

Cage-free eggs could be coming to a breakfast near you.

Several large food companies and restaurants, from Starbucks to McDonald’s to Kellogg’s, announced timelines this year for phasing out eggs laid in conventional cages, a victory for animal welfare advocates who have pushed for changes for years.

Widespread Panic / Browncat

Dave Schools - bassist and founding member of Widespread Panic - talked with Ryan Gottlieb about their new album Street Dogs, released on September 25th.

The rock, blues, and jazz band have been together and touring for nearly 30 years. Dave chats about recording the new album, playing with other talented musicians, and much more! 

Susie Fagan

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Three Republicans will not be returning to the House Health and Human Services Committee next year.

The reason: Their support for Medicaid expansion.

Website Ranks Health of Counties Across the US

Nov 12, 2015

The website has posted interactive maps showing the health rankings of every county in the US. Delving into the maps, HPPR made some interesting discoveries.

For example Randall County, which covers the southern part of Amarillo, is shown to be among the healthiest in Texas, ranking 27th in the state. But Potter County, which contains Northern Amarillo, is among the worst, ranking 209th out of almost 240 counties. Adjoining Carson County is slightly healthier that Randall, at number 26.

Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice

When it comes to providing summer meals to low-income children, Kansas ranks among the worst states in the nation. In fact, only Oklahoma fares worse in feeding poor children during the summer, reports The Hutchinson News.

Environmental Group Pushes Support for New Biofuels

Nov 12, 2015
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

U.S. energy policy that effectively promotes corn ethanol is holding back a generation of more environmentally sound fuels according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group.

To grow corn for ethanol, farmers have been plowing up new land and fertilizing big crops. Some research says that means corn-based ethanol can have a larger carbon footprint than traditional fuel.

Texas Minority Home Ownership Lags Far Behind Whites

Nov 12, 2015
Jolie McCullough / U.S. Census Bureau, 2014 American Community Survey

Texas minorities are less likely than white Texans to own their homes, reports The Texas Tribune. The state’s largest metro areas have some of the most substantial racial disparities among homeowners in the nation, according to U.S. Census data.