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

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.

Houston Chronicle

Perhaps more than any other state, President Donald Trump has shown an affinity for the policies and politicians of the Lone Star State. He’s installed Texans like Rick Perry and Rex Tillerson in his cabinet, and his low-tax, anti-regulation attitude is closely aligned with the philosophy of Texans like Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

It begs the question: Does Trump want to make America like Texas?

Jeroen Bennink / Flickr Creative Commons

Hackers have gained access to the records of hundreds of thousands of jobseekers who used an employment website run by the State of Oklahoma, reports NewsOK.

The security breach occurred on the website OKJobMatch.com, and authorities say 430,000 people’s information may have been compromised. The hacked information includes names, birthdays and Social Security numbers.

Shelley Zumwalt, a spokeswoman in the Gov. Mary Fallin's office, said anyone who’s ever accessed the site is probably vulnerable.

KVII

Sales tax receipts were down slightly in Amarillo in January, according to the latest numbers from the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation.

Wikipedia

Three major dairy groups were in Mexico last week trying to repair strained relationships between the U.S. and Mexico on trade.

According to Farm Journal’s Milk, some Mexican dairy leaders question President Donald Trump’s recent policies on immigration and his desire to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.  

Steve Sisney / The Oklahoman

The craft beer trend has hit Oklahoma in a big way, reports The Oklahoman.

A few years ago, Oklahoma only had one brewery. Now, the Sooner State boasts 15 breweries--and some of them are gaining national attention.

American Solera was recently honored with a “Best New Brewery in the U.S.” award. And, at February’s Best of Craft Beer Awards held in Bend, Oregon, Anthem Brewing Co. took home a number of awards. Meanwhile, in Europe back in 2010, the Oklahoma brewery known simply as “Choc” won several awards.

Oil prices fell below the $50-per-barrel-mark Tuesday following a hike in oil production by Saudi Arabia.

As Business Insider reports, West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, fell to $47.43 per barrel as of Tuesday morning. Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, was at $50.48 per barrel. Both were at their lowest prices since November.

Elvert Barnes / Flickr Creative Commons

Almost a quarter million immigrants call Oklahoma home, and they play an important role in the state’s economy, according to a new study.

As NewsOK reports, these immigrants make up over 20 percent of the state's workforce, and many hold specialized knowledge in career fields like health care, science and technology. Others keep the state economy humming by working in manufacturing, housekeeping, fabrication and landscaping.

In rural Trump Country, trade policy divides

Mar 14, 2017
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

This story is part of the special series United And Divided, which explores the links and rifts between rural and urban America.

Rural voters overwhelmingly chose President Donald Trump in the presidential election. But when it comes to the central campaign promise to get tough on trade, rural voters are not necessarily in sync with the administration.

US Census Bureau / Sacramento Bee

California appears to be sending many of its poorer residents to Texas, while taking in wealthier residents from other states, according to The Sacramento Bee.

In the first fifteen years of this century, California lost more people than it gained. But a closer look at the numbers shows an economic trend: The people leaving the Golden State tended to be poorer, and many lacked college degrees.

Marijuana could be next U.S. mega-industry

Mar 7, 2017
CC0 Public Domain

The next mega-industry in the U.S. could very well be marijuana.

As Business Insider reports, a new report from New Frontier Data projects the legal weed market will create more than a quarter of a million jobs by 2020.

Wikimedia Commons

The state of the farm economy is helping agricultural groups and farm-state lawmakers make their case for preserving and possibly increasing funding levels in the 2018 farm bill but some last week argued against it.

As Politico reports, the Heritage Foundation, the Environmental Working Group and Taxpayers for Common Sense argued that the current downturn in an inherently cyclical market shouldn’t be used to maintain the status quo on farm policy.

Ed Schipul / Creative Commons

U.S. oil production is on the rise once again, opening the door for another showdown with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

As The Denver Post reports, in just over nine months, the number of U.S. drilling rigs has grown 91 percent to 602. Meanwhile, production has gained more than 550,000 barrels a day since the summer, rising above 9 million barrels a day for the first time since April.

CC0 Public Domain

Three aspects of hemp farming were presented to area farmers Saturday at a Hemp Road Show held at Lamar Community College in Colorado

CC0 Public Domain

If you’ve ever wanted your own cow, or more specifically steak, a new crowdfunding website could be just the thing for you.

Tom Dorsey / Salina Journal

Diversification to manage risk has returned as an overriding theme in the cattle industry, as faltering farm economics force producers to re-acclimate to leaner times.

Two regional cattlemen who bootstrapped their way to success — without a farm to inherit — talked about how they diversified their profit centers during the Tri-State Cow-Calf Symposium in Goodland, hosted by Colorado State University, Kansas State University and the University of Nebraska.

CC0 Public Domain

Colorado agriculture, like much of the High Plains region, is facing many challenges  - a changing marketplace in which commodity prices are the same as they were decades ago while costs continue to climb, a looming climate catastrophe and a dwindling water supply.

But as with any challenge, also comes opportunity.

To diversify the landscape, diversify who works it

Feb 28, 2017
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Farmers in the U.S. like to point out that their products feed people all over the world. And while this is a diverse country, the people working on farms and elsewhere in agriculture often don’t reflect the nation’s demographics. Changing that is becoming a priority, in hopes new people will bring fresh ideas to meet some of our food system’s greatest challenges.

Casey Richmeier

Last year’s Anderson Creek Wildfire was the biggest known wildfire in Kansas’s history, burning 390,000 acres of land in Oklahoma and Kansas and killing hundreds of cattle, destroying millions of dollars worth of buildings and fences, and endangering the lives of hundreds of residents and volunteer firefighters.

And conditions are present that could make wildfires even more prevalent in 2017.

Creative Commons CC0

MANHATTAN – U.S. pork producers are transitioning from using individual gestation crates to instead housing gilts and sows in groups, but it poses challenges, including the ability to monitor feed consumption. To remedy that, producers increasingly have started using electronic sow feeding (ESF) at their farms.

Pixabay

A Colorado program that helps repay the student loans of doctors who work in rural areas or underserved areas is gearing up for what could be its largest grant class ever.

As The Denver Post reports, the Colorado Health Service Corps will begin accepting applications for the new grants March first and as much as $5 million dollars could be available to repay loans for as many as 60 physicians and other providers. 

Pages