HPPR Economy and Enterprise

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Amarillo exports soar

Sep 25, 2014

Amarillo exports total $581 million in 2013.

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.

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. 

Iowa based group helps save heirloom seeds for future generations.

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.

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.

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.

Walmart is trying the concept of being the neighborhood market in two Amarillo locations.

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.

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.

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.

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

Shelves have been pretty bare at Bella's Markets in both Limon and Stratton, but they should be full now.

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.

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.

What is seen to some as hocus-pocus, helps farmers and ranchers find water in Logan.

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.

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.

winterlivestock.com

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

After the blessing of a majority of stock holders, Hastings Entertainment now belongs to Joel Weinshanker.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

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.

100 years on, Panama Canal still vital to farm economy

Jul 7, 2014
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.”

AMA seeks ban on antibiotics for weight gain

Jul 7, 2014
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.

"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.

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