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

amarillo.com

The announcement that Amarillo’s downtown area will soon receive a minor league baseball team is just the latest boon to an already healthy economy in the center of the city.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, Amarillo’s downtown area already has 16 commercial development projects in the works. The projects are worth a combined $150 million dollars to the local economy.

Oil tug-of-war featured in New York Times article

Jun 20, 2017
HITCHHACKING / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The oil market is featured in a New York Times article that highlights the years-long tug-of-war between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) - which has attempted one failed tactic after another to conquer the oil glut that is expected to suppress prices for at least another year - and companies continuing to tap into shale reserves across the U.S., driving oversupply and low prices.

Two giants of American agriculture and industry are closer to becoming one.

 

After coming to an agreement with U.S. trade officials to bring American beef to China after a 14-year hiatus, the most populous country in the world is set to once again import U.S.-raised beef. To take advantage of the massive new market, however, the U.S. cattle industry is going to have to make some changes.

Tim Mueller has raised corn and soybeans on 530 acres near the city of Columbus, Nebraska, for decades, but today he is planning to take a big gamble.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

This month Oklahoma will be gearing up for its annual rye harvest. Here on the High Plains we don’t hear as much about rye as we do about other crops like wheat, corn and sorghum.

But, as StateImpact reports, Oklahoma is actually the largest producer of rye in the United States, and demand is on the rise due to America’s craft beer and whisky explosion.

People that live in rural areas are more connected to the internet than they’ve ever been, but they still lag well-behind their urban and suburban counterparts in access to high-speed Internet, according to data from the Pew Research Center.

Roughly two-thirds of rural Americans have a broadband internet connection at home, Pew suggests. That’s a much higher rate than just ten years ago, when only one-third of rural Americans had broadband at home. Rural residents, however, are still 10 percentage points less likely to have broadband access at home than people in cities and suburbs.

Boot Hill Distillery

After being in business for less than a year, the Boot Hill Distillery is at it again - winning awards - this time for its whiskey.

Just a few months after the Dodge City, Kansas startup received a bronze medal for its vodka, it received another couple of awards for its Red Eye Whiskey.  

North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative

The former agriculture secretary for the Obama Administration is leading an effort to expand the old north Denver stockyards - the location of the National Western Stock Show - to a 240-acre hub of agricultural innovation.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, former Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said researchers based there will also try to solve global hunger by researching crops that can grow with less water.

William Luther / San Antonio Express News

Unemployment numbers for April have been released, and Texas added over 30,000 new jobs on the month, reports the San Antonio Express-News.

That means the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate last month held steady at five percent. Meanwhile in Oklahoma, the rate remained unchanged at 4.3 percent, despite the Sooner State shedding 2,500 jobs last month. 

Creative Commons

The unemployment rate in Kansas dropped slightly as neighboring Colorado’s unemployment rate dropped to a record low last month.

According to the Wichita Eagle, preliminary estimates from the Kansas Department of Labor showed Kansas’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 3.8 percent in March to 3.7 percent in April.

Jonathan Baker

Housing demand in Amarillo is outpacing supply, reports The Amarillo Globe-News.

Jinger White, the chairman of the Amarillo Association of Realtors, says the city has a lower inventory of available homes than he’s seen in his 15 years of selling homes in the Yellow City.

“If you’re selling,” he said, “it’s a good thing. If you’re buying, it’s a bad thing.”

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

For years Oklahoma’s oil companies have insisted they’re missing out on huge profits due to a law that prevents horizontal drilling more than a mile long. Producers have tantalized state lawmakers with indications that altering the law would fill the state’s coffers—an attractive proposition giving the state’s budget gap of almost $900 million.

Fire recovery meeting offered in Ashland

May 5, 2017
Sandra J. Milburn / The Hutchinson News

Creating a fire response and recovery plan is the focus of a two-day meeting scheduled May 9-10 in Ashland as the region continues to regroup after a massive spring wildfire.

The workshop will be led by Ranching for Profit owner Dave Pratt, a well-known consultant whose thought-provoking style has helped hundreds of ranchers think through and plan for a more profitable future.

New high-paying jobs could be on Amarillo's horizon

May 3, 2017
FINDYOURSPOT.COM

Amarillo’s economy is set to get a big boost.

As ABC7 Amarillo reports, hundreds of high paying jobs are likely headed to Amarillo, following approval by the Amarillo City Council Tuesday of an incentive package for Maxor National Pharmacy Services to create positions.

Marion Doss / Flickr Creative Commons

In recent eras, America’s big cities grappled with large numbers of young people who weren’t in school and didn’t have jobs.

Wikimedia Commons

Northern Colorado agriculture producers are struggling to find U.S. workers.

As the Greeley Tribune reports, there aren’t enough U.S. workers who will do the labor-intensive work required by the agriculture industry, as many have moved to other labor-intensive industries like oil or construction.

Cargill

Cargill is selling its cattle feed yards in Leoti, Kansas and Yuma, Colorado to Green Plains.

According to a press release issued by Cargill on Wednesday, the company has reached an agreement to sell its beef cattle feed yards in Leoti and Yuma to Omaha-based Green Plains Inc., an ethanol producer with existing feed yards in Kismet, Kansas and Hereford, Texas.

Podcast seeks to stoke interest in cowboy poetry

Apr 23, 2017
CC0 Public Domain

In the first 20 years following the Civil War, cowboys who drove cattle from Texas to railheads in Kansas, would improvise poems and songs as a means of fighting boredom on the trail. And that is how cowboy poetry was born.

A new podcast called Cowboy Crossroads is helping to keep that rich tradition alive.

Lorne Matalon / Marfa Public Radio

Mexico is considering a boycott of corn from the United States, in response to repeated economic threats made by President Donald Trump, reports Texas Standard.

Jennifer Carlson / Wink Threadings Salon

Becoming a licensed hairstylist may soon be a much easier prospect in Texas, if the state Legislature has its way.

As The Texas Tribune reports, three new bills would make the process of obtaining a cosmetology license in the Lone Star State much less arduous.

San Antonio Express News

After a staggering downturn in the state’s oil and gas fortunes over the past few years, Texas appears to be entering what look to be better days ahead, reports the San Antonio Express-News.  

Creative Commons CC0

Despite pushback from several people who testified in favor of a bill that would prevent oil and gas producers from drilling wells within 1,000 feet of school property lines and extend setbacks for oil and gas activity was struck down last week by the Colorado Senate.

As the Denver Post reports, Senators on Wednesday voted 5-6 against House Bill 1256.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

A new tractor often costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, but not included in that price: the right to repair it. That has put farmers on the front lines of a battle pitting consumers against the makers of all kinds of consumer goods, from tractors to refrigerators to smart phones.  

Modern tractors, essentially, have two keys to make the engine work. One key starts the engine. Today’s tractors are high-tech machines that can steer themselves by satellite, so there is another key – a software key – to get into the programs that make a tractor run properly.

West Texas oil production has pushed the value of the region’s spot crude to its lowest discount to the U.S. oil benchmark in nearly two years, as the shale industry continues pumping more to take advantage of higher prices and demand from refiners who have seen supplies cut by top global producers.

Guy Montag / Flickr Creative Commons

Canada’s dairy policies may be hurting rural America,  AgNetWest reports.

In response, some U.S. dairies are lobbying the Trump administration to fight the policies, which they’ve labeled as protectionist.

According to the U.S. dairy farmers, America’s neighbor to the north is not honoring its trade agreements when it comes to milk and cheese, by adding difficulties for American dairy exports.

CC0 Public Domain

As farmers face their fourth straight year of declining incomes, soybeans are offering a glimmer of hope.

As Reuters reports, China’s demand for soybeans is providing a narrow path of profitability for U.S. farmers but fierce competition to supply China threatens the bottom line for U.S. growers, and 2017 prices, which are slightly higher than 2016 prices, are still projected to be 50 cents per bushel lower than they were three years ago.

Sandra J. Milburn / Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

One attribute that Colby Harner inherited from his father and grandfather is hard work.

The 25-year-old takes pride in this. It’s why he followed in their footsteps and became a farmer. He enjoys the work of raising crops and cattle, then reaping the harvest of his labor. 

But right now, eking out a living on the farm is even harder - especially for the young operator.

Tim Nauman / The Wichita Eagle

This week Kansas will dedicate two new wind farms, one in Kingman County and one in Pratt County, reports The Wichita Eagle.

Together, the two farms will generate 400 megawatts of electricity—enough to power 100,000 homes. That’s enough clean energy to power five cities the size of Hays, Kansas.

Most of the power will fall under the purview of Westar Energy, which also recently completed a large wind farm in Ford County.

Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

TOPEKA – Legislation enabling farmers eventually to obtain a license to plant industrial hemp passed the Kansas House on Monday morning, 103-18, with four members not voting.

Senate approval is needed, but bill proponent Rep. Willie Dove, R-Bonner Springs, was happy and hopeful.

“This is a very big deal for Kansas,” Dove said. All Kansas farmers want is a chance to compete, he said.

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