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

State Impact Texas

Texas leads the nation in wind energy production, and a lot of that wind power comes from the panhandle.  A recent article from State Impact Texas features a map showing annual wind energy production by county. 

If you’d like to see wind energy production around the world, The Wind Power, is a wind industry website that maintains a database of all wind farms. 

There are a number of factors making it hard for rural hospitals to make ends meet. Colorado Matters explores those issues, as well as the effects of sequestration and the Affordable Care Act. Listen to the podcast.

Can government help grow rural towns?

Aug 19, 2013
wayne's eye view/Flickr

We don’t like you. You caused our problems. You don’t care about us. Help us.

That might be a bit of a crass interpretation, but it encapsulates what a chunk of rural voters seem to think of government and their elected officials.

It’s what’s for dinner, and it’s more expensive

Aug 18, 2013
aspiringgentleman.com

The price of beef recently hit a record high according to KUT News, and it’s not just the drought driving prices up. 

High Plains States: Obamacare Grant Recipients

Aug 18, 2013
lerablog.org

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded a total of $67 million “navigator” grants to more than 100 organizations across the country recently reported the Kansas Health Institute.  “Navigators will be among the many resources available to help consumers understand their coverage options in the Marketplace,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius according to The Texas Tribune

Howard Buffett: Farmer of the world

Aug 16, 2013
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

Five years ago, Howard G. Buffett was at a meeting of an international food aid agency when he was told that feeding the millions of starving people in Africa was simple.

Just give them better seeds, someone said.

That advice might work on some philanthropists. But Buffett, son of billionaire Warren Buffett, happens to be an Illinois farmer.

“This guy was explaining to me how to farm and he’d never been on a farm in his life,” he said. “So it really kind of irritated me. I came home and said, ‘OK, I’m going to have data to show these guys.’”

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

    Across the rural Midwest, landscapes are dotted with tall, cylindrical storage containers for grain. Some belong to commercial grain elevators, but increasingly farmers want to market their grain throughout the year so they install their own storage bins right on the farm. Maintaining the quality of that grain requires vigilance—and can present safety concerns. In particular, the risk of entrapment when a person enters a bin to check on the grain.

amarillo.com

Ground was broken on the largest federally owned wind farm in the nation on Tuesday at the Pantex Plant near Amarillo reported the Amarillo Globe-News.  Officials from the National Nuclear Security Administration, Texas Tech University, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency and contractor Siemens Government Technologies were present. 

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Ilya Protopopov stopped at a U-Stop station in Lincoln, Neb., on his way to the track to fuel up his truck and a few dirt bikes. His fuel of choice, 91 octane unleaded, was selling for $4.01 per gallon.

“I used to complain about $1.50 gas, now it’s over $4,” Protopopov said. “Pretty steep.”

But on the same pump there was another fuel selling for under $3. E85 was going for $2.53.

Drought Drying Up High Plains Feedyards

Aug 13, 2013
http://online.wsj.com/ / Wall Street Journal

  Crops aren’t the only things struggling to survive on the High Plains- area feedyards are too.  Yards are reducing the number of cattle, up for sale, and some are closed.  The Wall Street Journal provides a photo documentary.  

Attorney Nancy Stone predicted the court would order the American Quarter Horse Association to register cloned horses. She was right.

oklahomafarmreport.com

Tyson Foods, Inc., announced last week that it will soon suspend purchases of cattle that had been treated with a controversial drug, citing animal welfare concerns.

But many in the industry wonder if the real reason is not about cattle, but rather the battle for sales in other countries, where using drugs for meat production is banned.

“I really do think this is more a marketing ploy from Tyson to raise some awareness so they can garner some export business from our overseas export partners,” said Dan Norcini, an independent commodities broker.

Soybean breakthroughs coming on strong

Aug 11, 2013
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts the nation’s farmers will deliver a record 3.42 billion bushels of soybeans this year. The USDA is also forecasting that this year for the first time Brazil will overtake the United States as the world’s leading producer of soybeans. That means the pressure is on American soybean farmers like Brian Flatt, 41, to eke out even more soybeans from his fields.

Logan Layden/StateImpact Oklahoma

Texas remains on top of the nation in total wind energy produced in 2012, while Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado are not far behind, according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Additions to each state's wind generation capacity last year are keeping the four plains states in the top ten of wind energy producers, as indicated by the DOE's Wind Technologies Market Report.

Ann Williamson/Kansas Health Institute

A $100,000 grant is being awarded to a Kansas organization to study potential solutions to bring dental care closer to home for thousands of rural Kansans.

DentaQuest Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the major national dental insurance company, awarded Oral Health Kansas the grant, reports Kansas Health Institute.

Grace Hood/KUNC

When unapproved genetically modified wheat was found growing in Oregon earlier this year, it didn’t take long for accusations about how it ended up there to start flying. A flurry of initial finger-pointing cast potential blame on a federal seed vault in Fort Collins, Colo., which housed the same strain of wheat, developed by Monsanto Corp., for about seven years up until late 2011.

While many other states refrain from getting into the health insurance business, Colorado is pressing on with efforts to educate the uninsured public about the state-run health insurance marketplace. Connect for Health Colorado is Colorado's answer to the Affordable Care Act, key provisions of which go into effect at the end of this year.

Kansas: Breaking Health Down by the Numbers

Aug 4, 2013
Colourbox

The Kansas Health Institute put together a view of the state of the state’s health by the numbers.  

Indiana Public Media

It doesn’t make sense, does it?  Domestic oil and gas production is booming, and yet prices are still pretty high.  Dr. Tec Patzek, Chairman of the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, said there are many reasons in an article by State Impact Texas.   

Help to Understanding the Affordable Care Act

Aug 4, 2013
Summacare

Whatever term you give it, the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, enrollment begins October 1 with coverage effective January 1.  To help negotiate the healthcare maze, the Kansas Health Institute reported there’s help: a nationwide interactive map and town hall meetings across Kansas.   

Entrepreneurship the real crop of this urban farm

Aug 2, 2013
Beth Lipoff/KCUR

When you grow up in the city, chickens aren’t something you see every day. But 13-year-old Malek Looney is getting to know them well.

"They’ll flap their wings and make loud noises and squawk at you. And you’ll be like, 'Oh no, they're mad at something,'" said Looney, taking a break from watering crops on a recent sunny morning.

Is Fracking Stealing From Your Neighbors?

Jul 31, 2013
texastribune.org

Fracking has become an industry standard, allowing access to stores of oil and gas that previously were inaccessible.  However, a State Impact Texas story poses the question,”Is fracking stealing from your neighbors?”

AQHA

A federal jury of seven men and five women decided that the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) violates state and federal antitrust laws by barring cloned horses from it’s registry according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

Imagine enough water to fill a couple of great lakes, but spread under some of the driest parts of eight western states. That was the High Plains Aquifer 60 years ago, before new pumping and irrigation systems made it easy for farmers to extract billions of gallons from it and use it to grow lucrative crops on the arid land.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

The world’s soil is in trouble. Ecologists say without dramatic changes to how we manage land, vast swathes of grassland are at risk of turning into hard-packed desert. To make sure that doesn’t happen, researchers are testing out innovative ways to keep moisture in the soil.

In eastern Colorado, one way could be in the plodding hooves of cattle.

Conventional wisdom tells you, if ranchland ground has less grass, the problem is too many cows. But that’s not always the case. It depends on how you manage them, if you make sure they keep moving.

Skip Mancini

Our final trip to Busy Bee Farms includes some advice from the experts on how to choose and use a great tasting tomato.  Differences between tomatoes that are shipped long distances and the greenhouse or homegrown varieties are explored, as well as tips on storing colorful heirloom tomatoes.  Susan also sums up the family's belief in the true rewards of hard work.     

KanCare is the commercially run managed care version of the Kansas Medicaid program.  The next step in program implementation according to the Kansas Health Institute is to begin a health home model for the state’s 36,000 mentally ill.

Jonathan Goforth / flickr commons

The plains states rank well generally for income mobility according to a new study considered to be the most comprehensive yet on the subject.  Based on millions of anonymous income records, the study by leading economists found four primary factors correlated with higher income mobility in an area: a larger and more dispersed local middle class, more two-parent households, better elementary schools and high schools, and more civic engagement, including membership in religious and community groups.

Estate taxes can complicate farm transitions

Jul 26, 2013
Kansas Poetry (Patrick) / Flickr

Welsh-born immigrant William R. Charles in 1868 fought an uphill battle with Indians and grasshoppers when he homesteaded 400 acres of well watered crop and timberland in Republic County, Kan., that his great-grandchildren farm today. The family’s first log cabin burned to the ground in December, 1869 and they dug through two feet of frozen dirt to find shelter.

Today, Charles’ grandchildren, great-grandchildren and their children are far flung from that homestead, Valley Point Farm, 240 miles northwest of Kansas City.

NW Kansas: Oil Pipeline Construction Begins in August

Jul 25, 2013
econintersect.com

An pipeline transporting oil from the Bakken production area of North Dakota and Eastern Montana to Cushing, Oklahoma cuts across Kansas.  A recent article in the Salina Journal said the purpose of the project is to transport domestic oil to domestic refineries. 

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