HPPR Economy and Enterprise

Agriculture:
crop production
crop irrigation
livestock production
dairy production
research & development

Energy
oil & gas production
wind energy
biofuels production
food processing
manufacturing

Transportation & telecommunications
rail service
air service
highways
internet service

Economic indicators & conditions:
workforce demographics
employment rates
land values
tax collections

Entrepreneurship:
small business development
technology application
innovation

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Here’s a quiz: the nation’s most inland seaport exists in what state? There are pretty good odds you didn’t guess Oklahoma, but in fact the Port of Catoosa handles two and a half million tons of wheat, fertilizer, steel, and manufacturing goods each year.

From outside of Tulsa, these resources head down the Verdigris River, to the Arkansas River, then east to the Mississippi and onward to Pittsburgh and Chicago. From there, these goods can move up through the great lakes to New York, Europe, or anywhere in the world.

Data Breach May Affect Thousands of Kansans

Jul 29, 2015
Jfcherry / Creative Commons

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Company that provides online patient portal says hackers gained access to electronic health records.

Thousands of Kansans soon will be receiving letters notifying them that their electronic health records may have been compromised.

Matt Brooks / NET News

From Harvest Public Media:

Farmers count on chemical herbicides to keep their fields weed-free. But an international panel of scientists who studied two of the most heavily used farm chemicals to determine whether they could cause cancer, said exposure to weed-killing chemicals could come at a cost. 

For Kansas Crops, the Return of an Unwelcome Disease

Jul 22, 2015
C.K. Hartman / Flickr Creative Commons

For the first time since the Dust Bowl, wheat flag smut has returned to Kansas wheat fields, reports Kansas AgLand.

While this rare fungal disease is not a threat to humans or animals, it can reduce yields.  That’s why some countries that trade with the US place restrictions on buying wheat from areas affected by the disease.

Farmers Upset Over New EPA Ethanol Requirements

Jul 20, 2015
Brandi Korte / Flickr Creative Commons

The EPA proposal to reduce ethanol requirements has raised the hackles of Kansas farmers, reports Kansas AgLand. Nearly 300 farmers rallied on Capitol Hill Wednesday to protest the measure, which would cut renewable fuel requirements by almost 4 billion gallons this year, and 5 billion next year.

Stephanie Paige / Ogburn/KUNC

From Harvest Public Media:

Food companies the world over are paying close attention to the groundswell of support for food transparency, the “know where your food comes from” movement.

JBS, the largest meat producer in the world, is beginning to take notice as well.

Kansas could effectively lose Amtrak service if one section of the track in Kansas City isn't updated. The piece is owned by the Kansas City Terminal. Amtrak has a federal mandate to install positive train control across its tracks by December of 2015. The line runs daily between Chicago and Los Angeles, serves 33 cities, six in Kansas. They are Dodge City, Garden City, Hutchinson, Newton, Topeka, and Lawrence.

Harry Pears / Creative Commons

More wind power is headed to the High Plains. A Spanish steel company has announced plans to build a manufacturing plant in the Texas panhandle, according to the Houston Chronicle. GRI Renewable Industries said it intends to build a wind tower plant in Amarillo that would employ 300 people and build 400 towers a year.

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed today on new quotas for the amount of renewable fuels blended in to our gasoline. The E-P-A plan would increase the total volume of renewable fuels at gas pumps. But it actually cuts the amount of ethanol made from corn.

In an ironic twist of fate, the building that once housed the seat of law and order is becoming the very thing that took some to face the judge In an ironic twist of fate, a distillery will call the courthouse home. The Dodge City Courthouse and old city hall is being renovated to become Boot Hill Distillery. Hays Kelman is a co-owner. He says whiskey will be the main attraction, but it takes a few years to age, so the business will also produce vodka, gin, white whiskey and red eye whiskey. Kelman is partners with his father and Chris Holovach. They’ll be using grain from their farms in Haskell and Scott Counties. Kelman says they want to keep everything as local as possible. A fall opening is planned.

More rain and less warmth than normal is both a blessing and challenge to farmers. About 60 percent of corn is in the ground in the Texas Panhandle. Jourdan Bell is a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agronomist. He says he’s concerned about fungal disease. Some seed put in the ground hasn’t germinated, and in saturated conditions you can see degradation and possible infection. Bell also says if the corn’s not planted by early May, there can be some pretty hefty yield degradation. That’s led to farmers considering planting grain sorghum. The moisture’s has a mixed impact on wheat. Bell says there’s been a lot of hail damage and very heavy disease pressure, but he thinks farmers will see a considerable boost in yields.

There’s a new eye in the sky in the Texas Panhandle, and it’s helping monitor the electric lines. Southwestern Public Service is exploring the use of drones. SPS’s parent company, Xcel Energy, has permission to use the technology. Wes Reeves is the spokesman for SPS. He says there are some clear advantages of drone use in the rough panhandle terrain. Reeves says air assessment also has distinct advantages in disasters like the 2014 Fritch wildfire. The Federal Aviation Administration approved Xcel’s request earlier this month. The company will use the drones to survey transmission and distribution lines, power plants, renewable energy facilities, substations, and natural gas pipelines it has in other regions.

You’ve probably heard of a stud bull before.. the favored male who mates with the herd. But a stud dame? They exist and the demand for their offspring is growing. Just how would you maximize the number of calves a supercow can produce? Some ranchers are using a process called embryo transfer, or E.T. that’s where the super cow is given hormones so she produces multiple eggs, then she’s bred, and the fertilized eggs are harvested. The embryos are implanted in less valuable cows who carry them to birth.

MU Extension

Last summer was a bad one for pinkeye in this part of the country.  The million dollar question is can anything be done to prevent it this summer?  The High Plains Journal reports there are vaccination programs, but there are also numerous strains of the disease.

Certified Angus Beef

We’ve all heard the phrase it takes a village to raise a child.  The same is true with exporting beef.  From logistics to linguistics, the teams working to export beef add well beyond $300 to the value of each head of cattle annually reports the High Plains Journal.

Here’s a glimpse at the role of three people making it happen.

Cattle prices and the possibility of a break in the drought has a Texas Panhandle family changing gears reports the Wall Street Journal. Rex McCloy and his two sons used to focus on growing cotton, corn, wheat, and soybeans. Now the family is betting the recent break in drought conditions will continue, and they’re investing in cattle. McCloy says three years ago there wasn't enough grass to feed a goat, let alone a cow. Now the family is building up the herd to capitalize on high cattle prices and lower feed costs.

Quentin Hope

Regional crude oil and natural gas prices are broadcast every weekday on HPPR during Morning Edition at 5:50, 6:32, 7:32 and 8:32 central time.  The report is compiled and voiced by Wayne Hughes of Amarillo, TX.

Complete current market information from the sources used in the regional summary report can be found at these sites:

All fields crude oil from Phillips 66.

Tyson Foods is the country's largest poultry producer. The company will stop feeding its chickens human antibiotics. Farmers raising livestock often add low-level antibiotics in an effort to treat disease, prevent disease from spreading, and also to help animals grow more quickly.

Highly contagious bird flu has infected more than 100 locations across the country. Despite disaster planning, this outbreak has been massive.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Once a regular dining option, a mix of cultural and economic factors pushed lamb off the American dinner table. To put the meat back on the menu, ranchers and retailers are being encouraged to reach out to a more diverse set of consumers, specifically American Muslims and Latinos.

Area Homes Sell at Brisk Pace

Apr 27, 2015
Amarillo Globe News

Texas Panhandle towns experience their best first quarter in real-estate since before the recession in 2008.

Separate analyses of the Amarillo Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service data shows that single-family home sales are up 12.5 percent to 14.7 percent, when compared with results from the first quarter of 2014.

Recent rains helped Kansas wheat fields, but one rain isn't going to save this year's wheat crop.

Lowest Score in 5 Years for Rural Mainstreet

Apr 20, 2015
Ag View

The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) for March slipped drastically from February’s already weak numbers. According to Creighton University, "The stronger U.S. dollar is undermining the farm and energy sectors by weakening agricultural exports, crop prices, livestock prices and energy prices.

Rural Mainstreet businesses dependent on export, agriculture or energy are experiencing pullbacks in economic activity," said Ernie Goss, Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University's Heider College of Business. 

Consumers are eating this stuff up.

Apr 19, 2015
File Photo / AP

In 2002 the U.S. government began certifying organic products, since then it has turned into an almost $40 Billion dollar a year industry.

Consumers are eating this stuff up, sales of organic goods has leapt 11% since last year and the number of organic producers in the U.S. has grown by 250% since 2002.

The industry estimates that organics now make up almost 5% of total food sales in the United States.” According to Kansas AgLand reporter Mary Clare Jalonick.   

In Kansas, the Court of Appeals upholds the decision to grant a temporary injunction to limit pumping a Haskell County junior water right.

This provisional sanction effects the junior right holder, oil company American Warrior, owned by the Cecil O’Brate family. This will require that they abstain from pumping water from two wells while the case is still pending in the court system.

Amtrak’s New Mexico route to stay on track

Apr 3, 2015
Amarillo.com

Amtrak's existing New Mexico route of the Southwest Chief passenger train will stay on track. This announcement marks an end to the two year debate about the route and if maintenance and upgrade cost would cause it to change.  

Technology Boom in Colorado

Mar 31, 2015
Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media/KUNC

Colorado is leading the nation with innovation, in recent years Boulder and Denver have become as home to tech startup companies in an unlikely industry. Agriculture is where the money’s at in Colorado these days; growers are patenting new technology in irrigation, food science and plant genetics according to a report from NPR correspondent Luke Runyoon.

New data shows Oklahoma lost about 500 mining jobs last year reports KGOU. About 97 percent of these jobs are related to oil and gas drilling. Lyn Gray is the chief economist for the Oklahoma Employment Commission. She says this year could be worse.

When it comes to the decline in oil prices, over 40 percent of Texans say it will impact businesses positively in their region. However, more than 50 percent say the fall is bad for the state's economy.

New Kansas ethanol plant turning crop residue into fuel

Mar 10, 2015
Bryan Thompson

Five months after its grand opening, a massive new-generation ethanol plant in the southwest corner of Kansas is undergoing final adjustments as it prepares to begin full-scale production. The plant, built by a Spanish company with financing from the U.S. Department of Energy, is designed to produce clean-burning fuel — not from corn, but from the bits and pieces of crops left in farmers’ fields after harvest.

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