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

Up For Auction: A 25 square mile chunk of Texas

Sep 5, 2013
http://assiter.com/

On Thursday, September 12, 10:00am, an unusual auction will take place at McLean Cowboy Church in McLean.  Up for bids is the Chapman Ranch, a 16,000 acre parcel spanning roughly 25 square miles in Gray and Wheeler counties according to a recent article by the Amarillo Globe-News.

What $154 million in payouts means to a county

Sep 4, 2013
Darrell Hoemann/The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

Farmer Doug Wilson has been buying crop insurance since 1980. 

“You carry home insurance, hoping your house doesn’t burn down. We carry crop insurance, hoping our crops don’t burn down,” Wilson said on a sweltering day in mid-August as he walked among the healthy 8-foot corn stalks in one his fields in central Illinois. “But last year, they burned down — kind of literally.”

summacare.com

As October 1 is just a few weeks away, there seems to be even more confusion about the Affordable Care Act than ever.  According to a recent KUT article, it’s not only consumers who are perplexed by the program, but medical providers are too.

The high plains are wind-rich, but the biggest need for energy is on the populous coasts.  The issue is easily seen.   State Impact Oklahoma shared these maps. 

The higher the wind speed, the higher the energy potential.  Look where the greatest potential is.

Now, notice where the transmission lines are located.

COOL too cumbersome for meat labeling?

Sep 3, 2013
www.foodsafetynews.com

For several years now, there’s been a battle brewing over how much U.S. consumers need to know about where their meat comes from.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture is in the midst of implementing a new country-of-origin labeling rule, also known as COOL, that requires companies to label where animals were born, raised and slaughtered. The new rule also prohibits meat from two different animals from being comingled and sold in the same package.

ars.usda.gov

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service of the Southern Plains is on a mission.  For 75 years, they’ve been working, “to sustainably balance today’s livelihoods with tomorrow’s needs.”  An article from the Amarillo Globe-News reported scientists at the facility do more than write research papers, they put them into practice. 

toastwireless.com

The “digital divide” between urban and rural areas used to be all about access to broadband internet service.  Today it is much more about adoption where access is now available. 

www.nebraska.tv

Farmers across the country received a record breaking 17.3 billion dollars in federal crop insurance payouts after last year’s drought.  While the payments were critical for the financial well-being of farmers, the National Resources Defense Council has issued a report critical of the structure of the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP).

Uninsured: How things look on the high plains

Sep 1, 2013
michaudinsurance.com

The latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals the percentage of uninsured people under the age of 65. 

Here’s how things look on the high plains:

  • Colorado: 17%
  • Kansas: 14.4%
  • Oklahoma: 21.8%
  • Texas: 25.7%

usatoday.com

  Rain and snow have eased most of Colorado's extreme drought conditions, but not southeastern Colorado reported Colorado Public Radio.  And years of drought have taken their toil on the cattle industry.

JOE WERTZ / STATEIMPACT OKLAHOMA

It seems odd that in a state currently experiencing an oil boom, there could be a shortage of gasoline without ethanol, but it’s true according to a recent article by State Impact Oklahoma.  Pure gasoline is in short supply in the Central United States, and that includes Oklahoma.

In 1960 just 3 percent of the Ogallala aquifer under Western Kansas had been tapped.  By 2010 it was 30 percent.  By 2060 it will be 69 percent.  And once depleted, it will take 500-1,300 years to completely refill.  These projections are all from a recently issued, comprehensive, four year study from Kansas State University. 

Greentechmedia.com

Domestic Fuel reported financing is complete, and construction has begun on the Panhandle Wind project in Carson County, northeast of Amarillo.  Pattern Energy Group LP said the project will be among the first to use the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) transmission infrastructure according to a recent article by Greentechmedia.

Texas Tribune

Texas lawmakers increased funding to address the shortage of physicians reported The Texas Tribune.  The medical community has doubts the addition is a long term solution.  “Nobody wants to see this pendulum swing, where there’s money for this biennium and no money the next biennium,” said Dr. David Wright, chairman of the Texas Medical Association’s education committee. “There has to be a better, more stabilized funding mechanism for all of this.”

State Impact Texas

If Texas were its own country, it would be one of the top producing nations in the world reported State Impact Texas.  When you take a look, almost the entire state has some degree of oil production. 

Texas Leads the Country in Natural Gas Production

Aug 22, 2013
State Impact Texas

State Impact Texas reported that Texas has about 23 percent of the country’s natural gas reserves.  Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has allowed more production than any other state.

State Impact Oklahoma

As the oilfields boom in Oklahoma, so are the state tax credits for drilling reported State Impact Oklahoma.  

Texas Roads: The oil boom has a price

Aug 21, 2013
Eddie Seal / Texas Tribune

Next week 80 miles of Texas roads will begin the conversion from paved to gravel according to the Texas Tribune.  The oil boom has significantly increased traffic on many farm roads in South and East Texas.  The damage is extensive.  Dave Glessner, spokesman for the TxDOT says, “Since paving roads is too expensive and there is not enough funding to repave them all, our only other option to make them safer is to turn them into gravel roads."

Area Hospitals Penalized for Readmissions

Aug 21, 2013
gstaadlife.com

The Texas Tribune recently reported the federal government is working to pay for better performance, and penalizing hospitals that have the highest rates of Medicare patients who are readmitted within 30 days of receiving treatment for heart failure, heart attacks, or pneumonia.  As part of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals can be penalized up to 1% of Medicare payment rates for all procedures this year, and up to 2% next. 

Both ways for Buffet: GMO and Organic

Aug 21, 2013
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

A Midwestern farmer with a well-known last name has set out to fight hunger on a global scale. Howard G. Buffett is the son of Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world. The younger Buffett believes that to help people, you must first make sure they can feed themselves. He has a 3,200-acre farm in Illinois and another in Arizona, where research is being done in hopes of learning how Africans can become better farmers.

Cattle Rustling: Oklahoma and Texas up 40%

Aug 20, 2013
Steve Ritter

Cattle rustling is up almost 40% this year in Oklahoma and Texas.  State Impact Texas reported there are a number of reasons:

Doing More With Less Water

Aug 20, 2013
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

The future of agriculture across the Great Plains hinges on water. Without it, nothing can grow.

Climate models and population growth paint a pretty bleak picture for water availability a few decades from now. If farmers want to stay in business, they have to figure out how to do more with less. Enter: super efficient irrigation systems.

Texas Wind Energy Production: West Texas Leads

Aug 20, 2013
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. 

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