HPPR Economy and Enterprise

1:11 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Kansas' budget experiment pointing to permanent revenue shortfalls

Lead in text: 
Revenue numbers for July through September, the first three months of fiscal year 2015, suggest Kansas’ revenue gap is permanent, not temporary. Analysis by the The Upshot projects the deficit for the fiscal year could be $250 million more than the already estimated $350 million
Kansas has missed its tax revenue targets again, and the state is in for new fiscal pain as a result. You may recall that Kansas gained national attention back in June because it had cut income taxes and lost a lot more revenue than lawmakers had anticipated.
Reviving local wool
6:36 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Spinning a local yarn in Colorado

Lorrae Moon of Yampa Valley Fiberworks coils alpaca fiber into a neat stack.
Credit Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media

Northwestern Colorado has a rich heritage of raising sheep – either for their meat or for wool. But for decades the sheep herd, not just in Colorado, but nationally, has been slipping in numbers, outdone by countries like New Zealand and Australia.

Where there’s been a resurgence though has been in local, niche markets. Some sheep ranchers have taken advantage of the local food movement to sell to customers at farmers markets and through community supported agriculture models.   

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Staying in the field
8:00 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Immigrant children working toward careers in agriculture

Melissa Garcia works with a classmate on a chicken-wing dissection in her vet careers class in the Des Moines public schools’ animal science program.
Credit Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

In a dimly-lit lab on the Des Moines, Iowa, public schools’ agricultural science campus, students in aprons, safety goggles and plastic gloves poke and probe chicken wings. About 15 girls and just one boy in this vet careers class are looking for ligaments, tendons, cartilage and other features of this animal part that teenagers more often experience cooked and covered in barbecue sauce.

A 17-year old senior, with her hair pulled back in a ponytail for the dissection, high-fives her lab partner when they identify the ligament and show it to their teacher. This young woman is a chapter officer in the Des Moines FFA group and recently got elected to a district-wide leadership position. She’s already earned a full scholarship to Iowa State University and aspires to be a large animal veterinarian with her own small cattle herd.

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Staying in agriculture
8:00 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

Immigration reshaping the next generation of farmers

At Bear Creek Dairy, 15-year-old Teun Boelen works closely with the calves, helping with difficult births, feeding the young animals and raising them until they join the herd of milk cows.
Credit Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

Bear Creek Dairy in Brooklyn, Iowa, is home to more than 1,100 cows, who provide about 100,000 pounds of milk each day. The 15-year-old farmer who works closely with the farm’s calves comes from a long line of dairymen – in Europe.

Five years ago, Teun Boelen’s parents sold their farm in the Netherlands and bought a dairy in southeast Iowa because, as his mother explains it, there was no room for their old farm to grow.  

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Production Agriculture
8:00 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

First legal hemp harvest in decades is underway in Colorado

Credit Billy Allegar Iwant2shootu@instagram

Colorado farmers are making history this fall with the first legal commercial hemp harvest on U.S. soil in 57 years. But, the bulk of the harvest won’t be made into the plant’s diverse list of potential uses. Farmers will be squirreling away seed to plant next year reported Nelson Harvey for High Country News.

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grain prices
8:01 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Farmers gear up for record harvest while bracing for lower prices

Soybeans pile up at a grain elevator outside of Heartwell, Neb.
Credit Grant Gerlock, NET News/Harvest Public Media

Nebraska Farmers are bringing in what’s expected to be a record-breaking harvest for both corn and soybeans. But all that productivity has a big financial downside. Only two years after peaking, grain prices are at their lowest level since 2009.

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animal production & agriculture
5:31 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Court Dismisses Lawsuit on California Hen Cages

Egg producers are worried about California's cage requirements.
Credit Will Curran/Flickr

A federal district court has upheld a California law requiring eggs sold in the state to come from hens housed in more spacious cages.

Attorneys general of six states – Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Alabama – sued to challenge the constitutionality of a California law requiring that all eggs sold in California be raised under standards laid out for California egg producers in a 2008 state ballot measure.

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HPPR Briefly
1:27 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Uber, Lyft and Tesla twist the Texas idea of business; and other stories

The Tesla Model S.
Credit Tesla Motors

Getting legislative permission to do business: an analysis
Sometimes innovation in new technologies or new ways of doing business runs into hurdles in the form of regulation, and that's no exception in Texas, as the Texas Tribune reports.

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food waste
8:01 pm
Sun September 28, 2014

Choices can cut school food waste

Gloria Restrepo, a teacher’s assistant at Harris Bilingual Elementary School in Fort Collins, Colo., helps students choose their lunch.
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Lunch time at Harris Bilingual Elementary School in Fort Collins, Colo., displays all the usual trappings of a public school cafeteria: Star Wars lunch boxes, light up tennis shoes, hard plastic trays and chocolate milk cartons with little cartoon cows. It’s pizza day, the most popular of the week, and kids line up at a salad bar before receiving their slice.

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food waste
8:01 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Grocery stores waste tons of food as they woo shoppers

Most of the unsold salad bar food at the Hy-Vee store in Independence, Mo., will sent to composting.
Credit Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

Grocery stores and restaurants serve up more than 400 million pounds of food each year, but nearly a third of it never makes it to a stomach.

With consumers demanding large displays of un-blemished, fresh produce or massive portion sizes, many grocery stores and restaurants end up tossing a mountain of perfectly edible food. Despite efforts to cut down on waste, the consumer end of the food chain still accounts for the largest share of food waste in the U.S. food system.

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food waste
8:01 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Manufacturers cut food waste to build bottom line

Todd Scherbing, Smithfield Foods’ senior director of rendering, holds a tray of pituitary glands that are cut from hogs on the line in the Farmland Foods plant in Milan, Mo. Pituitary glands are used to make insulin.
Credit Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

The long line of semi-trucks waiting to get in the gates of the Farmland Foods plant could simply wait around for a few hours to head back, fresh products on board.

The trucks are loaded with hogs from several confinement operations near this factory in Milan, a small town in northeast Missouri. Within just 19 hours, those pigs will be slaughtered, butchered and boxed into cuts that consumers see in the grocery store and in restaurants.

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6:47 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Amarillo exports soar

Lead in text: 
Amarillo exports total $581 million in 2013.
When it comes to goods, what's made in the Texas Panhandle isn't all staying in the Panhandle.They're using Amarillo-made equipment in China and Australia, eating Texas beef in Asia and Mexico and using locally produced whey proteins in South Africa and South America.Exports starting their worldwide journey from Amarillo surged to a record $581 million in 2013, according to Department of Commerce figures.
food waste
8:01 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Technology, infrastructure cut down on food waste on the farm

On-farm and post-harvest loss accounts for about 40 percent of food waste in the developing world, according to the U.N. But it is credited with relatively small levels of waste in most industrialized countries.
Credit Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

On a wet, grey day in Grinnell, Iowa, the rain beats a rhythm on the metal roof of a packing shed at Grinnell Heritage Farm. Crew member Whitney Brewer picks big bunches of kale out of a washing tank, lets them drip on a drying table and then packs them into cardboard boxes.

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Amtrak Route
8:00 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Southwest Chief service safe in Colorado and Kansas

Credit santafenewmexican.com

Amtrak says it will continue Southwest Chief service through parts of Kansas and Colorado for two more decades according to a recent article from the Santa Fe New Mexican. 

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10:33 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Heirloom seeds saved by exchange

Lead in text: 
Iowa based group helps save heirloom seeds for future generations.
Most vegetable seeds today are bred by seed companies to be hearty and easier to grow. They’re created by cross-breeding different varieties and selecting for specific characteristics. Heirloom seeds are different. Like your grandmother’s engagement ring, heirloom seeds have been passed down through generations. And today’s gardeners likely wouldn’t have access to many of their favorite heirloom plants if it weren’t for the work of the Seed Savers Exchange.
barriers for local food
8:01 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Climate, space create challenges for local food

Josh Kilbane runs Yampa Valley Farms outside Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Local food is no longer just a novelty. Farmers markets are growing nationwide and farms that sell directly to consumers brought in $1.3 billion in 2012, up eight percent from just five years earlier. Despite the demand, making local food work in some places is decidedly more difficult than others. Steamboat Springs, Colo., is one of those places.

Problem number one is infrastructure.

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farming & crop prices
8:01 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

USDA predicts drop in farm income

Expectations of a bumper crop of corn has caused both prices and farm profit expectations to drop.
Credit United Soybean Board/Flickr

Farmers’ can anticipate a sharp drop in income this year, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In fact, the USDA predicts the $113 billion earned in 2014 will be the lowest amount of net farm income in five years. That’s equal to about a 14 percent fall from last year’s record amount, thanks mostly to a massive drop in crop prices.

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5:29 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Farmers watching grain elevator failure

Lead in text: 
When a grain elevator goes belly up, who’s left holding the bag? Farmers are closely watching what’s happening in Pierce, Nebraska. The Public Service Commission revoked the Pierce Grain Elevator’s license when it couldn’t meet expenses, and closed the elevator. Farmers have filed claims for 9.7 million dollars in claims. Sale of the gain seized after closure will only raise about half that amount.
In Nebraska, farmers say they're left with about $9 million in unpaid claims when a grain elevator failed in the town of Pierce. It looks as if farmers' losses could eventually top $4 million. Without a financial safety net to depend on, farmers are watching this case in eastern Nebraska.
7:20 am
Mon September 1, 2014

Walmart trying its hand as Neighborhood Market in Amarillo

Lead in text: 
Walmart is trying the concept of being the neighborhood market in two Amarillo locations.
Walmart is looking to cover two more Amarillo corners with its Neighborhood Market concept.The retail giant already has one Neighborhood Market under construction on Southeast 34th Avenue, west of South Osage Street.And now it is eyeing Neighborhood Market projects on South Coulter Street at Arden Road and on Southeast 58th Avenue at South Georgia Street.Walmart began building its smaller-footprint store on Southwest 34th Avenue in July.
HPPR Briefly
8:18 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Briefly: Kansas ranks poorly in a measure of elder care

Credit Huffington Post UK

Overuse of antipsychotic drugs in some Kansas nursing homes endangering patients
Powerful antipsychotic drugs are used too much and inappropriately to manage the behavior of elders with dementia in under-staffed care facilities, according to reporting by the Kansas Health Institute. Kansas ranks 47th worse for use of these drugs. The drugs carry serious side-effects, and reports say as many as 1 in 12 elders taking antipsychotics die from use of the drugs for dementia.

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harvest forecast
8:01 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

USDA predicts record corn, soybean harvest

Credit ali eminov/Flickr

Corn and soybean farmers expect a record harvest this year. And that’s after bringing in a record corn crop last year along with one of the largest soybean crops in history.

For once, farmers can thank the weather. It’s been an ideal growing season in much of the Corn Belt with just enough sun and rain to push yields to the limit.

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tomato farming
8:01 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

What goes into the price of your tomato

Vegetable farmer Tom Goeke of St. Charles, Mo., sells his Red Deuce tomatoes wholesale at about $1.50 per pound.
Credit Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

Late summer in the Midwest is tomato season. For tomato growers around that country, it’s time to pick their bounty and calculate their earnings.

While sun and rain might be free, tomato farmers have to carefully weigh everything else they put in to growing their crop. Research and the development of new tools – from novel seed varieties resistant to diseases to additional fertilizers – has changed the input costs for growers.

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A new wheat variety does well in drought
8:00 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

K-State releases new wheat workhorse

Credit kingarthurflour.com

Almost everything changes in 100 years, but some have lasting qualities able to stand the test of time.  Kanred was developed a century ago by Kansas State University, and now a direct descendent; KanMark has just been released according to the High Plains Journal

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5:42 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Grocery shelves won't be empty much longer in Eastern Colorado

Lead in text: 
Shelves have been pretty bare at Bella's Markets in both Limon and Stratton, but they should be full now.
KUSA - There's some good news for two eastern Colorado communities that have been dealing with limited supplies of groceries. Limon town leaders say Flagler-based Stop and Shop purchased the Bella's Markets in Limon and Stratton. The stores closed for a couple hours Wednesday for inventory and going forward will be known as Stop and Shop.
8:01 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Kansas: Garden City BPI plant to reopen

Lead in text: 
BPI plans to re-open its Garden City plant next week on a part time basis because of increased demand. The facility was closed in 2012 because of the "pink slime" controversy. It will re-hire 40-45 employees.
DAKOTA DUNES | With demand for its lean beef continuing to rebound, Beef Products Inc. will reopen its Garden City, Kan., plant next week. The complex in southwest Kansas was one of three plants the Dakota Dunes-based firm shuttered in May 2012 following a national media-driven controversy over its Lean Finely Textured Beef, or LFTB, which critics deride as "pink slime."
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
8:00 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Rural America has more SNAP beneficiaries

Credit yummymummyclub.ca

The stereotype of social safety net programs has often been that they mostly serve urban minority populations. However, a new report looks at people receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits  (formerly known as food stamps) by where they live, and the results show are surprising according to the Center for Rural Affairs.

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10:57 am
Tue July 29, 2014

It's a busy time in Logan for water witchers and well diggers

Lead in text: 
What is seen to some as hocus-pocus, helps farmers and ranchers find water in Logan.
LOGAN -- Quests for water during years of dry conditions have kept two Logan men busy. Terry Gottschalk, a well driller, and Phil Altman, a water witcher, often are colleagues on the same job. "I tell people I would not drill a well without having it witched. Otherwise, you're just shooting ...
Ogallala Aquifer
8:00 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Water is the cornerstone of SW Kansas economy

A NASA photo of Finney County, Kansas. The circles of land are irrigated by center pivot systems.
Credit nasa.gov

The ag world is gearing up to feed 9 billion people, but the Ogallala Aquifer sprawling under the surface of eight Midwestern states is going down the drain.  In fact, in some places, it’s gone reported Amy Bickel for Kansas Agland.

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6:24 am
Wed July 23, 2014

A water-centered economy

Lead in text: 
The Kansas economy relies on water and for more than a generation, experts have warned that western Kansas' economic resource is vanishing. The Hutchinson News and the Salina Journal are delving into the issues surrounding the declining Ogallala Aquifer and how it affects Kansas. Water: Past, present, and future begins today with a look at a water-centered economy.
ULYSSES - A century ago, when Clay Scott's great-grandfather homesteaded the this area of semiarid western Kansas, he relied on the mercy of the sky. Click here to view all stories in our series It wasn't easy. There were plenty of years when rain came sparingly. Yet, as thousands of far ...
Southeastern Colorado Drought
8:00 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Recent rains are too little too late for ranchers

Credit winterlivestock.com

Many Colorado cattle ranchers are beginning to recover from the drought, but for many the rain is too little and too late.

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