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

GMCN Architects

Tuesday, the Garden City Commission approved an agreement with GC Investments, Inc. for constructing the ‘Sports of the World’ facility.

As the Garden City Telegram reports, the non-binding agreement lays out terms for the first phase of the project and designates the master developer as GC Investments, which is owned by locals, Cecil O’brate and Amro Samy.

Emergency Grazing Begins In Drought-Stricken Kansas

Jul 18, 2018
USDA

Cattle producers in drought-stricken Kansas counties may now cut hay or graze on land normally set aside for conservation.

When it comes to tariffs, the Texas economy has a lot at stake.

“Texas clearly is the No. 1 exporting state in America, so we really have ostensibly the most to lose,” said Jeff Moseley, president and CEO of the Texas Association of Business.

Moseley said he's worried about the potential effects of tit-for-tat tariffs from China.

Public Domain

The windswept plains of West Texas have some of the highest solar power potential in the United States. Now, the Permian Basin region is taking advantage of that energy in a big way.

Zorin09 / Wikimedia Commons

CNBC has released their scorecard on the economic climate in all 50 states, and Texas took the top spot.

The news network ranked states on more than 60 measures of competitiveness, including workforce, quality of life, education, business friendliness and cost of living. Texas ranked number one overall, also ranking first in infrastructure and economy.

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A new initiative would bar oil and gas extraction on more than 80 percent of non-federal land in Colorado.

As The Denver Post reports, over four out of five acres of non-federal land in Colorado would be off-limits to new oil and gas drilling if voters approve a proposed ballot measure this fall.

Kansas Wheat Yields Vary As Harvest Wraps Up

Jul 11, 2018
AGRILIFE TODAY / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Wheat harvest is close to wrapping up in Kansas and overall production is down from last year due to dry weather in some areas and hail damage in others. 

In northwest Kansas, as much as 1 million bushels of wheat were lost to hail.

Eric Sperber, manager of Cornerstone Ag LLC in Colby, told Kansas Wheat that the area was hit with another hailstorm on Saturday.

“We have had five hail events since June 19, and fields that were missed from the previous storms got hit this time. Overall, the crop has good quality; unfortunately, we lost fields due to the hail storms."

New Kansas Initiative Looks To Track Cattle Diseases

Jul 10, 2018

Kansas is taking the lead on a project aimed at tracking cattle disease with the hopes of protecting the U.S. beef industry.

Public Domain

The Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles will likely soon suffer under the effects of Donald Trump’s various trade wars.

As The Dallas Morning News reports, the trade war will leave no part of Texas untouched. The Lone Star State has a greater number of exports hit by payback tariffs than any other state.

Last September, the ground shifted under the small town of Tonganoxie, Kansas, about 35 miles due west of Kansas City.

When word got out that Tyson Foods, Inc. was ready to announce it would soon break ground just outside town on a $320 million poultry complex — a processing plant, hatchery and feed mill — opponents organized immediately.

Thirty-eight calves, between two and four months old, moo and kick at the dirt floor in a steel barn in Brush, Colorado. One by one, a handler leads them from the pen to a narrow chute, where their legs are restrained and they’re lifted onto a hydraulic table.  

A deal, hatched in secret, to build a massive chicken processing plant on the outskirts of Tonganoxie, Kansas, caused a huge uproar last September. The Tyson project was promptly canceled. Despite that, all the incumbent city council members on the ballot were voted out of office in November.

The political consequences could continue with upcoming elections for the Kansas House.

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Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states can now collect sales tax from online retailers. New estimates show that the move could be a major boon to the economies of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles.

Robert Dauffenbach, director of the Center for Economic and Management Research at the University of Oklahoma, told The Oklahoman that he believes the additional sales tax income could amount to over a quarter of a billion dollars a year for the Sooner State.

Tod Baker / Flickr Creative Commons

Oil drillers in West Texas continue to face a quandary: How much of the natural gas they produce should be burned off?

As The Los Angeles Times noted this month, the problem has pitted producers against each other and set environmentalists and capitalists on a collision course. During the fracking process, extra natural gas is produced along with the oil.

The U.S. House voted down an immigration bill Thursday that would have addressed one of the biggest concerns of American farmers: updating the agriculture guestworker visa program known as H-2A.

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The Trump Administration is threatening a trade war with its closest allies, and the move could hurt Texas Panhandle businesses.

As The Dallas Morning News reports, the White House has pledged to slap tariffs on imports from the Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, with those entities warning that they plan to respond in kind.

skyscrapercity.com / Wikimedia Commons

The former Chase Tower in downtown Amarillo has a new resident bank and namesake. Going forward, the tallest building between Fort Worth and Denver will now be known as the FirstBank Southwest Tower.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, the institution that began as First National Bank of Ochiltree in 1907 will now, 111 years later, have its name stamped on the most prominent structure in the skyline of the largest city on the High Plains.

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The State of Texas has revealed a program that offers incentives to residents who purchase or lease cars that use alternative fuels. This state is offering a $2,500 cash back deal two Texans who decide to buy green automobiles.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said this week that the Department of Energy is working on a plan to subsidize coal and nuclear power in the name of national security. While the details are scarce, the idea’s been the subject of speculation and criticism from energy experts, environmentalists and grid operators.

Courtesy
Spaceport Colorado spaceportcolorado.com/update.html

License to launch a Colorado space travel initiative is quickly approaching, but the news has some Eastern Plains residents concerned.

As The Denver Post reports, if approved by the FAA in August, Spaceport Colorado, located at the Front Range Airport, would be a launch and landing site for space planes, still under development, that would engage rockets at 45,000 feet to take passengers or researchers into suborbital space.

Editors note, June 28, 2018: The CDC says the data referenced in this story about farmer suicides is incorrect, due to "coding issues" and that the agency will work to correct the data, according to media outlet The New Food Economy. Updated suicide numbers for farmers have not yet been released.

Farming involves a degree of inherent risk, such as environmental and biological factors like drought and disease, which can come and go practically without warning. Depressed commodity and dairy prices and a burgeoning trade war are adding to that usual stress and taking a toll on farmers.

From Texas Standard:

We’ve been hearing the word tariffs an awful lot recently, But the conversation about whether and how much started back in March when President Donald Trump announced new duties on steel and aluminum imports – at that time he granted exemptions to some major trading partners, including Canada, Mexico and the European Union, or EU. But late this week, the Trump administration said those countries will face steel and aluminum tariffs of up to 25 percent, in order to protect American national security interests.

SCOTUS Case Impacts Ag Workers

May 24, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

This week’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court says employers can avoid settling disputes with workers in court.

But that could harm people who work on farms or in meatpacking plants … people who often rely on class-action lawsuits to collect unfairly withheld wages.

University of Denver law professor Nantiya Ruan says litigation is expensive and the damages in those types of cases are small, so ag workers usually can’t afford an individual case.

Flying east to west over Kansas, the land transforms from lush green to desert brown. Rectangular farm plots fill in with emerald circles, the work of center-pivot irrigation.

Outside Garden City, in the middle of one of those circles, Dwane Roth scoops up soil to reveal an inconspicuous PVC pipe. It’s a soil moisture probe that tells Roth exactly how much water his crops need. The device is one of many new technologies designed to help farmers make the most of every drop.

“All that you have to do is open up your app,” said Roth. “It’s going to tell you, you don’t need to irrigate or you’re going to need to apply an inch within  six days.”

Kansas saw a bump in job growth last month.

The Kansas Department of Labor says the state gained 2,000 private sector jobs from March to April. Compared to April of last year, Kansas had nearly 18,000 more jobs in the private sector.

Emilie Doerksen, with the Department of Labor, says there have been jumps in job categories such as business services, transportation and warehousing.

“This is actually the first month that we’ve had significant over-the-year gains in the private sector in over a year,” Doerksen says.

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Businesses in the Lone Star State are growing increasingly worried that President Trump's “America first” economic policies might do harm to trade between Texas and Mexico.

As the BBC reports, Texas industry leaders are worried that Trump’s hostility toward the North American Free Trade Agreement could cut into profits and lead to job losses.

From Texas Standard.

President Donald Trump has brought or threatened tariffs against many U.S. trading partners in an effort to bring them to the negotiating table. China threatened back, promising to bring tariffs against many U.S. imports. That trade battle may seem far away, but it is making a lot of farmers in Texas nervous.

Dairy farmer Gary Rock sits in his milking parlor, overlooking what is left of his 95-cow operation in LaRue County, Kentucky.

“Three hundred years of history is something that a lot of people in our country cannot even talk about,” Rock said. That’s how long the farm has been in his family.

From Texas Standard.

Ford announced recently that it will stop making most of its sedans, because the money is in trucks and SUVs. But now, gas prices are climbing, after four or five years without a significant increase. Like everyone who drives, and even those who travel by other means, Texans feel the impact of higher gas prices right in the wallet. But here, there’s a bit of a silver lining, because so much of the economy, and even the government’s coffers, rely on oil revenue. But with the Texas economy more diverse than ever, what does $3-a-gallon gas mean, on balance?

Beef cattle ranchers have always known that making the best steak starts long before consumers pick out the right cut, or where an animal grazes or what it eats.

The key is in the genetic makeup — or DNA — of the herd. And over the last year, those genetics have taken a historic leap thanks to new, predictive DNA technology.

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