HPPR Economy and Enterprise

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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7:44 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Hastings Entertainment sale is a done deal

Lead in text: 
After the blessing of a majority of stock holders, Hastings Entertainment now belongs to Joel Weinshanker.
A New Jersey licensing executive today closed his $21.4-million deal to buy Amarillo-based Hastings Entertainment.Hastings consummated its pact with Joel Weinshanker today after receiving the blessing of at least two-thirds of the holders of outstanding shares of Hastings stock.
Agritourism
8:01 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

States working out kinks to keep ag tourism growing

Carol Zadrozny, owner of Z's Orchard in Palisade, Colo., has had trouble securing insurance coverage for her agritourism attractions.
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Listen to Luke's story.

Colorado already draws thousands of visitors each year for skiing, hiking, beer drinking and, most recently, marijuana sampling. In 2012, those visitors spent more than $16 billion in the state. Tourism officials want more and they’re looking to do it by bringing well-educated “traveling foodies” to the state.

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Link to export markets
8:01 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

100 years on, Panama Canal still vital to farm economy

A loaded container ship passes through the Miaflores Locks on the Panama Canal in 2006.
Jean-Pierre Martineau/Flickr

When it opened in 1914, the Panama Canal introduced the harvest from Midwest farms to the world and helped link U.S. farmers to the global economy. Nearly a century-old, the canal today remains an important connector of global trade, from the U.S. heartland to Asia.

“Obviously it’s one of our major achievements,” said Bill Angrick, a former state Ombudsman of Iowa who was born in the Canal Zone and has studied the engineering marvel. “It’s like going to the moon. It’s something we did well and did right.”

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Concerns with "super bug" resistance
6:38 am
Mon July 7, 2014

AMA seeks ban on antibiotics for weight gain

Low doses of antibiotics are often delivered to livestock in their feed.
Credit Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media

The largest association of U.S. physicians is calling for tighter rules on antibiotic use in livestock. 

The American Medical Association (AMA) says there should be an outright federal ban on using antibiotics to plump up farm animals. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration asked pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily phase out the use of antimicrobial drugs that promote growth in livestock.

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4:51 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Texas cattlemen say yes to increased "beef checkoff" dollars

Lead in text: 
"Beef checkoff" is a national program that funds beef promotion and research. Texas ranchers recently voted in favor of increasing participation in the program by an overwhelming majority.
Every time a cow is sold in Texas, a dollar of that sale goes to industry groups that use it to promote and research beef. It's part of a national program called the "beef checkoff," and that charge will now rise to two dollars in Texas after a statewide vote by cattle owners.
Oil & Gas
8:00 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Texas oil and gas boom doesn’t mean prosperity for everyone

A cowboy turned roughneck reflects on the haves and have-nots in Texas’ Eagle Ford oil boom.
Credit nytimes.com

The Lone Star State is king of the oil and gas drilling boom.  Over a quarter of all the active drilling rigs in the world are in Texas.  That prosperity is not without cost, nor does it benefit every Texan.

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Amarillo downtown development
8:00 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Coke-Amarillo Economic Development Corp. exchange finalized

Credit commons.wikimedia.org

Another piece of the Downtown Amarillo development project has fallen into place.  Documents finalizing the property exchange between  Coca-Cola and Amarillo Economic Development Corp. are signed, sealed and delivered according to a recent article in the Amarillo Globe-News.

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Oil & Gas
8:00 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Pipeline companies are paying more to cross private land in Texas

Workers install a section of natural gas pipeline that runs through a field that abuts a subdivision on Schultz Lane in Berthoud, CO.
Credit Felisa Cardona / denverpost.com

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has tapped reserves that were once thought unreachable.  The industry is scrambling to provide infrastructure to support the boom.  Pipelines sometimes have to cross private land.  For the pipeline companies, it’s not a simple off that has to be accepted.  Recent court cases have been awarding landowners significantly higher amounts than companies offer reported Gilad Edelman for The Texas Tribune

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HPPR Briefly
8:00 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Briefly: Supercharged in Hays, Fizzy in Amarillo

Credit Hays Area Chamber of Commerce

Potter County OKs tax break for Coca-Cola, paves the way for ballpark
Potter County is the final jurisdiction to pass a tax abatement for Coke to move from downtown Amarillo to the CenterPort Business Park to make way for a future hotel/ballpark development. Read more from The Amarillo Globe-News.

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Selling the "Farm Experience"
8:01 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Agritourism a growing opportunity on the farm

Blake Bohlender attended a three-day camp at Laughing Buck Farm near Fort Collins, Colo.
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Farms aren’t just for food any more. With the local food movement growing, more savvy farmers are putting a price tag on more than those organic tomatoes. They are instead marketing and selling the “farm experience” in the form of agritourism attractions.

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Cattle
8:01 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Cattle move north for water

After years of drought, the central and northern Plains have seen a rise in cattle feedlots.
Credit Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media

The U.S. cattle herd has changed dramatically over the last four years, largely thanks to drought.

The supply of beef has been in free-fall. Perhaps you’ve noticed sky-high prices for hamburger and steak.

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Beef & Drought
8:01 pm
Sun June 15, 2014

Drought re-shaping the cattle map

Cattle come to Van Housen Feed Yard to be fattened up before heading to one of the nearby meat packing plants. Drought in beef states like Texas and Oklahoma has led to growth feedlots in Nebraska.
Credit Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Listen to Grant's story.

Drought is re-shaping the beef map and raising the price of steak. Ranchers are moving herds from California to Colorado and from Texas to Nebraska seeking refuge from dry weather. And cattle producers in the Midwest are making the most of it.

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Got groceries?
8:00 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Food deserts plague the High Plains

Food deserts abound on the High Plains
Credit msucommunitydevelopment.org

Across the High Plains, areas are colored with food deserts.  In a place that’s been dealing with drought for four years, the added designation of being a food desert feels more literal.  A food desert is an area designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a non-metropolitan, low-income area where at least 500 people or 33 percent of the population lives more than ten miles from a supermarket or large grocery store.

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Agriculture
8:00 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

New farm bill creates two-tiered test for farm program participation

Credit cfra.org

One unintended consequence of the recent farm bill was the creation of a more rigid and stricter test to define what “actively engaged” in farming means reported John Crabtree for the Center for Rural Affairs.

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Hog Production
8:01 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Cargill to stop use of gestation crates for hogs

Barns like this one often house more than a thousand pregnant sows in gestation crates.
Credit Sarah McCammon/Harvest Public Media

Cargill, one of the country’s largest pork producers, announced Monday that it will stop using gestation crates, the controversial narrow cages meant to house and separate sows. Cargill is joining other major meatpackers, like competitors Tyson and Smithfield Foods, in planning to move away from hog crates.

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Wheat
8:01 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Drought hammers winter wheat across the Plains

Farmer Jim Haarberg of Imperial, Neb., compares the heads of wheat from two different stalks to demonstrate the stunting effects of drought.
Ariana Brocious/Harvest Public Media

Much of the Midwest and the Plains have been battling drought for years. And the current winter wheat crop looks like it will be one of the worst in recent memory, stressing farmers in the heart of the Wheat Belt – from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska.

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High Plains housing shortage
8:00 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Independent developer has solution for western Kansas housing shortage

Credit wikipedia.org

In Western Kansas, it’s not jobs that are in short order, it’s housing.  An investor is taking measures to remedy the housing shortage in Liberal without any form of government subsidies according to a recent article from the High Plains Daily Leader.

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Oil & Gas
8:00 pm
Sun June 8, 2014

Kansas oil production is up mostly because of fracking

Credit downtheroad.org

Oil production is up in Kansas, while natural gas continues on the way down says The Kansas Geological Survey. 

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Opinion
8:00 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Kansas farmer sounds off on crop insurance and farm policy

Credit hutchpost.com

As our present multi-year drought grinds on and on, I’m beginning to wonder if we missed the point—by a country mile—in our current farm policy.

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Syracuse, Kansas
8:00 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Robot helps save rural hospital

Hamilton County Hospital CEO Bryan Coffey with the robot.
Credit khi.org

Hamilton County Hospital is a small, rural hospital in southwestern Kansas.  A little over a year ago, it was on the brink of closing because of financial and staffing problems says chief executive Bryan Coffey. 

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Palace Coffee Co.
8:00 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

The best coffeehouse in the region is in the Texas Panhandle

Credit amarillomagonline.com

Palace Coffee Co. won the regional competition of America’s Best Coffeehouse in St. Louis recently according to a recent article from the Amarillo Globe-News

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Renewable Energy
8:00 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Unique energy transmission line gets approval

Credit kmzu.com

Clean Line Energy Partners recently received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to go ahead with one of the Great Plains transmission projects according to the Center for Rural Affairs.

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Food Industry
8:01 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Flour milling merger moves forward

Ardent Mills would control about a third of the American flour milling market.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Federal regulators Tuesday gave the final go-ahead for two of the country’s largest flour milling companies to merge.

Food giants ConAgra and Cargill said last year they wanted to put their flour mills under one roof in a new company called Ardent Mills. But a chorus of antitrust watchdogs said the deal would further consolidate an already concentrated industry.

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Biomass crops for fuel
5:08 am
Sat May 24, 2014

Miscanthus: A growing energy crop

Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa are all working on a project to plant, study and harvest miscanthus for biofuel.
Rick Fredericksen/Harvest Public Media

Miscanthus, a relative of sugar cane that looks like bamboo, could be the Midwest’s next energy crop. But in a region dominated by corn and soybeans, it has yet to fully catch on, even as advocates tout its advantages.

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California cattle on sale
8:01 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Drought still taking toll on ranchers, beef prices

Drought has many California ranchers culling their herds and ranchers in other western states are taking advantage.
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

California ranchers, despite near-record beef prices, are shrinking their cattle herds in response to one of the most severe droughts the state has ever faced, and many Western ranchers are taking advantage.

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Oil & Gas Industry
8:01 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

The Texas oil boom benefits drug smugglers?

Eagle Ford road
Credit theeaglefordshale.com

New roads and the increased activities of the Texas oil boom are also helping another lucrative market- drug smuggling according to a recent story from KUT.

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Kansas Department of Labor April Statistics
8:01 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Western Kansas still has lowest unemployment rates

Credit Kansas Department of Labor

The numbers are out, and once again Western Kansas has the lowest April unemployment rates in the state.   Logan and Ness counties tied for the best rate at 2.2-percent according to the Hays Daily News.

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Springfield, Colorado
8:00 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

SE Colorado hemp farmer secures commercial agreement

Ryan Loflin works in his hemp field near Springfield, Colorado.
Credit hcn.org

Rocky Mountain Hemp has entered into a commercial agreement with Cannabis Therapy Corp. to provide an exclusive land lease and crop services according to a recent press release in the Wall Street Journal.

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