HPPR Economy and Enterprise

"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.

nytimes.com

The Lone Star State is king of the oil and gas drilling boom.  Over a quarter of all the active drilling rigs in the world are in Texas.  That prosperity is not without cost, nor does it benefit every Texan.

commons.wikimedia.org

Another piece of the Downtown Amarillo development project has fallen into place.  Documents finalizing the property exchange between  Coca-Cola and Amarillo Economic Development Corp. are signed, sealed and delivered according to a recent article in the Amarillo Globe-News.

Felisa Cardona / denverpost.com

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has tapped reserves that were once thought unreachable.  The industry is scrambling to provide infrastructure to support the boom.  Pipelines sometimes have to cross private land.  For the pipeline companies, it’s not a simple off that has to be accepted.  Recent court cases have been awarding landowners significantly higher amounts than companies offer reported Gilad Edelman for The Texas Tribune

Hays Area Chamber of Commerce

Potter County OKs tax break for Coca-Cola, paves the way for ballpark
Potter County is the final jurisdiction to pass a tax abatement for Coke to move from downtown Amarillo to the CenterPort Business Park to make way for a future hotel/ballpark development. Read more from The Amarillo Globe-News.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Farms aren’t just for food any more. With the local food movement growing, more savvy farmers are putting a price tag on more than those organic tomatoes. They are instead marketing and selling the “farm experience” in the form of agritourism attractions.

Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media

The U.S. cattle herd has changed dramatically over the last four years, largely thanks to drought.

The supply of beef has been in free-fall. Perhaps you’ve noticed sky-high prices for hamburger and steak.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Drought is re-shaping the beef map and raising the price of steak. Ranchers are moving herds from California to Colorado and from Texas to Nebraska seeking refuge from dry weather. And cattle producers in the Midwest are making the most of it.

msucommunitydevelopment.org

Across the High Plains, areas are colored with food deserts.  In a place that’s been dealing with drought for four years, the added designation of being a food desert feels more literal.  A food desert is an area designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a non-metropolitan, low-income area where at least 500 people or 33 percent of the population lives more than ten miles from a supermarket or large grocery store.

cfra.org

One unintended consequence of the recent farm bill was the creation of a more rigid and stricter test to define what “actively engaged” in farming means reported John Crabtree for the Center for Rural Affairs.

Sarah McCammon/Harvest Public Media

Cargill, one of the country’s largest pork producers, announced Monday that it will stop using gestation crates, the controversial narrow cages meant to house and separate sows. Cargill is joining other major meatpackers, like competitors Tyson and Smithfield Foods, in planning to move away from hog crates.

Drought hammers winter wheat across the Plains

Jun 9, 2014
Ariana Brocious/Harvest Public Media

Much of the Midwest and the Plains have been battling drought for years. And the current winter wheat crop looks like it will be one of the worst in recent memory, stressing farmers in the heart of the Wheat Belt – from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska.

wikipedia.org

In Western Kansas, it’s not jobs that are in short order, it’s housing.  An investor is taking measures to remedy the housing shortage in Liberal without any form of government subsidies according to a recent article from the High Plains Daily Leader.

downtheroad.org

Oil production is up in Kansas, while natural gas continues on the way down says The Kansas Geological Survey. 

hutchpost.com

As our present multi-year drought grinds on and on, I’m beginning to wonder if we missed the point—by a country mile—in our current farm policy.

khi.org

Hamilton County Hospital is a small, rural hospital in southwestern Kansas.  A little over a year ago, it was on the brink of closing because of financial and staffing problems says chief executive Bryan Coffey. 

amarillomagonline.com

Palace Coffee Co. won the regional competition of America’s Best Coffeehouse in St. Louis recently according to a recent article from the Amarillo Globe-News

kmzu.com

Clean Line Energy Partners recently received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to go ahead with one of the Great Plains transmission projects according to the Center for Rural Affairs.

Wikimedia Commons

Federal regulators Tuesday gave the final go-ahead for two of the country’s largest flour milling companies to merge.

Food giants ConAgra and Cargill said last year they wanted to put their flour mills under one roof in a new company called Ardent Mills. But a chorus of antitrust watchdogs said the deal would further consolidate an already concentrated industry.

Miscanthus: A growing energy crop

May 24, 2014
Rick Fredericksen/Harvest Public Media

Miscanthus, a relative of sugar cane that looks like bamboo, could be the Midwest’s next energy crop. But in a region dominated by corn and soybeans, it has yet to fully catch on, even as advocates tout its advantages.

Drought still taking toll on ranchers, beef prices

May 22, 2014
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

California ranchers, despite near-record beef prices, are shrinking their cattle herds in response to one of the most severe droughts the state has ever faced, and many Western ranchers are taking advantage.

theeaglefordshale.com

New roads and the increased activities of the Texas oil boom are also helping another lucrative market- drug smuggling according to a recent story from KUT.

Kansas Department of Labor

The numbers are out, and once again Western Kansas has the lowest April unemployment rates in the state.   Logan and Ness counties tied for the best rate at 2.2-percent according to the Hays Daily News.

hcn.org

Rocky Mountain Hemp has entered into a commercial agreement with Cannabis Therapy Corp. to provide an exclusive land lease and crop services according to a recent press release in the Wall Street Journal.

bluefish.org

On the high plains, there aren’t any commercially navigable rivers, and the U.S. rail system has been the main way for farmers to move grain to ports to sell around the world said a recent article in Reuters.

Quentin Hope / HPPR

The U.S. market for foods and beauty products that contain hemp is growing, but American manufacturers that use hemp have their hands tied. The crop is still illegal to cultivate, according to federal laws, which means the current American hemp industry, estimated at $500 million per year, runs on foreign hemp.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

A handful of farmers are set to plant the country’s first hemp crop in decades, despite federal regulations that tightly restrict the plant’s cultivation.

christianfaithatwork.com

A report recently released by the AFL-CIO says Kansas is the tenth most dangerous state to work in.  Kansas has one of the worst workplace safety records in the nation based on 2012 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The report revealed 88 Kansas workers died because of on-the-job injuries according to The Hays Daily News.

http://dougfine.com/books/hemp-bound/

The farm bill passed earlier this year is big news for advocates of hemp. New rules differentiate industrial hemp from its cousin, marijuana, and pave the way for research on the plant.  Hemp is still considered a controlled substance by federal regulators. But some states are giving farmers the chance to experiment.

extension.org

The Regional Resiliency Assessment Program (RRAP) was recently completed in the Texas Panhandle – a major region for cattle feedlots, hog production and the dairy industry.  The 18-month training helps prepare the cattle feeding and livestock industry against natural and manmade threats according to a recent article in PR Web.

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