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

Public Domain

A new report predicts that construction will be the fastest growing sector of Nebraska’s economy through 2018, says Net Nebraska. The study predicts that construction employment in Nebraska will reach a record level this year and continue to grow. The sector is expected to expand by almost 10 percent over 2007 levels. Much of the construction growth will be due to state tax dollars for roads projects.

blackhillsenergy.com

Black Hills Energy has purchased a natural gas transmission pipeline in southwest Kansas from Anadarko Natural Gas Co., reports The Garden City Telegram. The Kansas natural gas utility closed on the sale this week of the 37-mile length of pipeline.

Brian Seifferlein / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

The nights were often worse for Gabriel, even after long days working on the production line at a pork slaughterhouse in Nebraska.

He had nightmares that the line – what the workers call “the chain” – was moving so fast, that instead of gutted hogs flying by, there were people.

“You’ve been working there for three hours, four hours, and you’re working so fast and you see the pigs going faster, faster,” he says. 

Rural Blog

In the near future we may see robots replacing workers on farms, reports The Rural Blog.

In the past, the main barrier to replacing human labor with mechanical workers has been price. But now, those costs are lowering, according to a Boston-based firm that studies new technology. Meanwhile, farm wages are rising. When wages overtake the cost to run robots in the fields, humans will be replaced.

gohastings.com

I worked for Hastings for a few years, in college, managing the book department and working at the front counter. In one way or another, Hastings has always been there for me. The retailer is as much a part of my childhood as Palo Duro Canyon or Cadillac Ranch--more so, probably, given how often I shopped there.

Wheat as We Grow It

Jul 13, 2016
Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

From the way it is grown, harvested and processed into flour, and the way it's entwined in the lives of the families who produce it, wheat's journey is an emotional one.

In a time where agricultural practices are questioned at every turn, it's important to look at what's being done to keep our food safe while conserving the environment while providing enough food for the earth's inhabitants.

Richard Carson / Reuters

Due to its large deposits of shale oil, the United States has more recoverable oil available than either Russia or Saudi Arabia, according to Reuters. The information comes from a new report by Norwegian consulting group Rystad Energy.

The study contends that the US currently holds an estimated 264 billion of barrels of reserves in existing fields, discoveries and yet to be discovered fields.

That’s eight billion more barrels than Russia has, and over 50 billion more barrels than the Saudis.

Jolie Green / Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

For the first time nearly 15 years, the price of wheat is so low that government loan programs have once again kicked in.

Anthony92931 / Wikimedia Commons

Beginning in September 15, 2016 twice-daily flights will begin traveling out of Denver to Dodge City and back.

The service will be provided by PenAir, one of Alaska’s largest regional airlines, reports the Dodge City Globe. Schedules and fares are now available at PenAir.com. or by calling PenAir’s Central Reservations at 800-448-4226.

Thompson Reuters

The US Securities and Exchange Commission last week accused Texas-based oil and gas driller Breitling Energy Corp of fraud on a massive scale. The corporation’s chief executive and seven other employees were charged with defrauding investors of around $80 million. The federal agency accused the driller of misleading investors about the value of the company’s oil and gas assets, reports Business Insider. 

John Moore / Getty Images

Inequality continues to grow throughout the United States, notes a recent editorial in The New York Times. A new study shows that inequality has risen in every single state over the past four decades. There has been a basic pattern that continued through booms and recessions: The rich have gotten much richer while everyone else has seen income stagnate or decline.

Josh Harbour / Garden City Telegram

From Kansas Agland:

For some in western Kansas, such yields are unheard of.

But some farmers, including those planting wheat on summer fallow ground, are seeing yields reaching 100 bushels an acre.

“All the berries filled,” said Jerald Kemmerer, general manager of Dodge City-based Pride Ag Resources.

Andrew Spear / New York Times

  The New York Times this week reported on groups of Christians in the heartland who have a new mission in mind: fighting predatory lending. Their main target is what’s called a “payday” loan: a high-interest loan often taken in a moment of financial crisis. The movement has united conservative and Evangelical churches with liberal ones.

KOTV

The unemployment rate in Oklahoma rose by two-tenths of a percentage point last month, reports KOTV. That brings the level up to 4.7 percent, making it even with the national unemployment rate.

From April to May Oklahoma’s labor force declined by well over 7,000 workers. Meanwhile the number of jobless rose by nearly 10,000.

Public Domain

Over the past year construction employment in Kansas fell by over 3,400 jobs, reports The Hutchinson News. As a result, the Sunflower State has fallen to 49th in the nation in construction jobs. Meanwhile, the four states that border Kansas have all seen growth, adding a combined 20,000 construction jobs to their own economies.

Rural Blog

In a world where we often feel like international events and information overload might overtake our lives, the small town paper remains a trusted source for news on the people and events in our local lives. While we hear a lot of doom and gloom about major newspapers in big cities going out of business, many rural newspapers have managed to stay afloat.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Summer travel season is here, and it brings good news for Oklahoma travelers. Despite heavy demand, Oklahoma gas prices remain among the cheapest nationwide, reports The Duncan Banner.

The national average for regular gas prices continues to rise. But Oklahoma’s average has only moved up by two cents in the last three weeks. It now sits at just $2.15 a gallon.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Despite a delayed wheat harvest this year, Oklahoma may be looking at one of the strongest ingatherings in recent memory, reports KGOU. That’s because heavy rains caused the delay. For the second year in a row, Mother Nature was kind to Oklahoma farmers. Nevertheless, many farmers are still recovering from years of drought that only recently retreated. Even worse: Some climatologists warn the drought might be returning soon.

Reuters

In a time when technology so often seems to be tearing us apart, sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of how the internet can bring us together. The ride-sharing services known as Lyft and Uber recently left Austin in protest of strict local regulations about who could drive for the companies.

National Park Service/CPR

It looks like Western Colorado may be sitting on quite a bit more energy than experts believed. In fact, as Colorado Public Radio reports, the western part of the state has 40 times more natural gas than previously thought. However, it’s unlikely the extra gas will produce another oil boom, as tapping the energy would only send prices lower.

Tom Corser / Wikimedia Commons

A controversial transmission line that would carry wind power to the east from Kansas is gaining more support, reports The Wichita Eagle. The 780-mile Grain Belt Express line will transmit wind power from western Kansas across Missouri and further eastward. And now a group representing Missouri municipal utilities has signed up for space on the transmission line.

Travis Morrisse / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

Kansas net farm income in 2015 hit a 30-year low, reaching a level not seen since the 1980s farm crisis.

Accrual net farm income across 1,159 Kansas Farm Management Association farms averaged $4,568, drastically down from a five-year average of $120,000.

Continental Resources/WSJ

Even with today’s low oil prices, producers are still finding places where they can profitably drill. In Oklahoma and West Texas, notes The Wall Street Journal, some companies are still managing to thrive in today’s struggling oil economy. One area of Oklahoma known as the Stack, for example, is still producing solid returns.

Getty Images/WSJ

If you’re feeling unproductive at work, maybe you should consider standing up. Stand-up desks have been gaining popularity in recent years. The newest trend is something called a “stand-capable” desk. That’s a desk that can be converted to standing or sitting positions. And a new study reported in The Wall Street Journal shows that these desks often increase productivity.

Kristi Koser / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

At the grocery store, processed foods like cereal, crackers and candy usually maintain the same price for a long time, and inch up only gradually. Economists call these prices “sticky” because they don’t move much even as some of the commodities that go into them do.

Take corn, for example, which can be a major food player as a grain, a starch or a sweetener.  

Ann Saphir / Reuters

Oil prices are creeping up, and that means energy companies are tentatively starting to drill again, Reuters reports. Many drillers are starting to be optimistic that this time they really are on the other end of the horrific two-year slump. The downturn has caused oil outfits to shed employees and hemorrhage profits. Now as wells in the West Texas Permian Basin are again becoming profitable, producers are finally taking baby steps to crank up output.

Paul Lowry / Texas Tribune

Slumping oil prices aren’t just hurting oil and gas companies. Many landowners see the effects when they visit their mailbox, reports The Texas Tribune. The energy downturn is eating into the monthly checks royalty owners receive for oil production on their property. However, while it’s little comfort, the slowing income can also mean their tax bills will plummet.

Megg / Flickr Creative Commons

From Harvest Public Media:

Expansion in the country’s beef cattle herd is bringing cheaper meat prices to the grocery store just in time for the summer grilling season, but those reduced prices might get some scrutiny on Capitol Hill.

U.S. Department of Agriculture data show the price of ground beef is down about 30 cents per pound compared to last year.

USDA / Rural Blog

Many rural areas in America are becoming less reliant on agriculture and more oil and gas dependent, reports The Rural Blog. According to the USDA, over the last ten years the number of farming dependent counties in the US has dropped. In that same period, the number of mining-dependent counties grew by 60 percent.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

The 21st century farm has come a long way from a simple matter of sowing and reaping. To keep up with the future, notes NetNebraska, many farmers are employing business school techniques. For example, David Muth of Ames, Iowa, breaks down his farm operation into individual one-acre datasets.

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