High Plains Public Radio

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

Rural Blog

In today’s America, oversight and regulation of factory farms is extremely difficult, and in some cases impossible.

etfdailynews.com

Climate change could be having an adverse effect on natural gas prices.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, warm October weather has sent natural gas demand lower this month. Half of U.S. homes use natural gas for winter heat. But yhere simply hasn’t been a need for heat yet in many parts of the country.

Public Domain

Kansas’s unemployment rate has risen for the fourth consecutive month, reports The Lawrence Journal-World.

The jobless rate in the Sunflower State rose to 4.4 percent in September as the state lost an estimated 2,100 private-sector jobs.

Eric Kayne / The Wall Street Journal

The Lone Star State has long been seen as a boon to the U.S. economy. But as of late, reports The Wall Street Journal, Texas has become a drag on the nation’s fortunes.

It wasn’t long ago that the state’s energy resources helped keep the U.S afloat. The boom was led, in large part, by the fracking revolution. But ever since the collapse in oil prices, Texas job growth has become stagnant. And Texas has become something of an albatross.

David Paul Morris / Bloomberg News

Facebook wants to expand free Internet service in the United States, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

The social media giant is working with rural Internet providers on a program called Free Basics. The initiative would give Americans access to a limited number of websites for free.

politico.com

This week U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a $400 million federal program to reduce rural poverty in America, reports The Lexington Herald-Leader.

Smiley N. Pool / Getty Images/NY TImes

As the East Coast deals with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, oil analysts are worried about the effects such a storm might have on the Texas oil and gas industry.

As The New York Times reports, few American cities are more vulnerable to hurricanes than Houston and Galveston. And none of the other cities are as crucial to the economy. A massive hurricane ramming into the Texas coast could have global economic consequences.

TheZachMorrisExperience / Wikimedia Commons

If you live in Freeport, Maine, your livelihood probably depends on L.L. Bean. Same goes for Bentonville, Arkansas, and Walmart.

And if you live in the small Western Nebraska city of Sidney, your life was probably thrown into a tizzy when it was announced that your hometown retail giant Cabela’s had been purchased by Bass Pro Shops. In fact, many in this Nebraska community of seven thousand are wondering what the future holds.

Creative Commons

Wheat is falling out of favor in Kansas, reports Farm Futures.

Wheat acreage may be reduced by as much as five percent this fall. That means, in the autumn of 2016, Kansas will record its fewest wheat acres in more than 100 years. Most of the decline can be attributed to low prices and a late soybean harvest. Wheat hasn’t been as profitable as other crops lately, and current prices show that trend continuing.

Texas Observer

Renewable energy has seen a boom recently. That means many landowners have been tempted to lease their acreage to solar companies. In many cases, farmers and ranchers have received fliers and letters from solar operations.

David McNew / Getty Images

The State of Oklahoma is asking its citizens to pray for the oil industry, reports The Week magazine.  The statewide prayer initiative will culminate on October 13th with a special breakfast event in the capital, known as Oilfield Prayer Day.

Creative Commons

The oil sector has seen gains recently, reports The Wall Street Journal, and reached a three-month high on Monday.

Prices have been rising on optimism spurred by an OPEC-production deal. After meeting in Algeria, OPEC leaders announced that they would coordinate a reduction of output to 33 million barrels a day.

Previous Image Enlarge Next Image 1 / 3 Sunday, Tulsa mayor-elect GT Bynum spent the day with Pennsylvania U.S. representative, Bill Shuster. He's the chairman of the House of Transportation and Infrastructure CommitteeCredit News on 6Edit | Remove

Digital Globe / The Washington post

Many energy experts from around the world have been wondering, exactly how much crude oil has China been stockpiling?

Gabriela Pinto / Flickr Creative Commons

Working Mother magazine has released a list of the top 100 companies in the United States for working moms.

Gary C. Caskey / UPI

Texas crude oil production looks like it may be on the road to recovery, reports UPI.

Even so, output is still lower than last year, according to the Texas Railroad Commission. July’s daily production rose to 2.4 million barrels of oil per day. That’s three percent higher than it was two months previous.

Suchat Pederson / Suchat Pederson, The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal

Since December, six major agriculture companies have agreed to merge, including Dow and Dupont. The agriculture industry has since come under criticism for the “tsunami” of huge corporate mergers.

KWCH

High-Plains beef could be making its way back to China, reports KWCH.

China, a country that boasts the world’s largest population, has announced they are ready to lift a ban on the import of U.S. Beef. The ban has been in place since 2003.

Creative Commons

Over the past year, Oklahoma saw one of biggest unemployment increases of any state, reports The Oklahoman.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Oklahoma had the second-highest unemployment rate increase for the 12 months ending in August. The state’s unemployment rate rose 0.8 percent. The statewide average now sits at 5.1 percent.

While unemployment has been growing in Oklahoma over the last year, the pace of the job loss has been slowing since March. Many of the job losses came in the energy sector.

High Plains Journal

Kansas farmers are looking to build a relationship with Cuba, reports The High-Plains/Midwest Ag Journal.

Gary C. Caskey / UPI

The Lone Star State was, for the most part, less impacted by recent economic downturns than other states. Strong recovery in the services and construction sectors helped to keep the state afloat during hard times.

Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

HPPR recently reported on a story about how, according to Census Bureau statistics, rural America is stagnating while cities are booming. But this weekend The New York Times took issue with this narrative and insisted that, in fact, income in rural America is growing, too.

The debate is about two lines in the recent Census Bureau report. According to the study, while incomes in metropolitan areas grew six percent, those in rural areas fell by two percent.

amazon.com

Amazon has plans to invest in a massive Texas wind farm, according to FuelFix.

The Seattle-based online retail giant is teaming up with Chicago’s Lincoln Clean Energy to build a 250-megawatt wind farm in Scurry County, west of Abilene. The company plans to begin operations in 2017.

The wind farm will feature 100 wind turbines which will power Amazon’s Texas’ facilities, with the leftover energy feeding into the overall state grid.

agweb.com

As the ag industry continues to consolidate into larger and larger corporations, reactions from farmers and farm-groups have been decidedly mixed.

The Daily Yonder

The economic recovery continues apace in America’s cities. Unfortunately, reports The Daily Yonder, the same can’t be said of rural America.

While median household incomes improved for metropolitan areas last year, they did not improve for rural Americans. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, average rural residents saw their wages remain flat or even fall a bit from 2014 to 2015.

WSJ.com

E-commerce is transforming rural America in a lot of ways. In small towns, big-city conveniences are now only a click away. But, as The Wall Street Journal reports, the change comes with a price.

Joe Amon / The Denver Post

The United States has unseated Germany to become the top producer of hops in the world—thanks in large part to the efforts of Colorado.

As The Denver Post reports, the U.S. has regained the title of world hop leader for the first time in decades. Over the last two years, Colorado has experienced an estimated 166 percent increase in total acres of hops planted. The acreage serves to support the state’s more than 300 craft breweries.

Rich / Creative Commons

A new study finds that, on average, Nebraska counties that receive a certain livestock-friendly designation gain more cattle farms and lose fewer hog farms than counties without it, reports The Sioux City Journal.

The designation is part of a program created by the Nebraska Legislature over ten years ago. Some rural counties are give0n the designation, and this often leads to more business.

Cynthia Raiser Jeavons / Ecology Action

Tiny, biointensive farms around the world have been showing small ag operations how they can grow far more food with newer methods than with conventional approaches, reports ensia.com.

Biointensive farming incorporates a host of methods, including transplanting and double-digging. The newer strategy also involves on-site composting, close plant spacing, use of seeds from naturally-pollinated plants, and the use of specific food-to-compost crop ratios.

Spencer Platt / Getty Images/WSJ

Apache Corp. has high hopes for a new oil field in West Texas, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The energy giant announced last week that the overlooked “Alpine High” region potentially holds the equivalent of at least two billion barrels of oil. “Alpine High,” is an area near the Davis Mountains in far west Texas.

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