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

Frac sand in demand with uptick in oil rigs

Feb 20, 2017
Creative Commons CC0

With an uptick in oil rigs, concerns about the supply of frac sand, the key component of drilling, are also arising.

As Business Insider reports, oil producers have added hundreds of rigs in U.S. oil fields from Texas to North Dakota. A couple of weeks ago, the U.S. rig count hit 591, the highest since October of 2015.

Clinic for refugees opens in Garden City

Feb 20, 2017
City of Garden City, KS

There’s a new clinic in Garden City, Kansas that aims to provide the community’s refugee population with healthcare and language services.  

As the Garden City Telegram reports, Dr. John Birky, CEO of the New Hope Together clinic, said the organization is dedicated to improving the physical, spiritual, and socioeconomic well-being of refugees in the community through healthcare services, English language learning and mutually beneficial relationships.

Floflo88 / Wikimedia Commons

An editorial in The Dallas Morning News is calling cattle ranchers “the first casualties of Trump's trade wars.”

Texas State University Journalism Professor Richard Parker noted several ways that Trump’s trade policy may hurt beef markets.

Tim Evanson / Flickr Creative Commons

Like other High Plains states, Colorado’s oil and gas economy is in a position to help propel it forward.

As The Denver Post reports, oil prices rose after recent OPEC production cuts and are now high enough to motivate producers to put more rigs to work and translate into more domestic production, said Erica Bowman, chief economist with the American Petroleum Institute.

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Small farming operations are benefiting from mobile technologies geared toward addressing challenges they face, from production to financial services to market access.

Steve Sisney / The Oklahoman

Oklahoma has jumped to third in the state rankings, when it comes to wind power production.

As The Oklahoman reports, the Sooner State leapfrogged California to take the third spot. That’s no small feat, given that California bests Oklahoma in land area, population, and general economic might.

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Even though transitioning from traditional to organic farming methods can be costly, Colorado farmers are increasingly doing so in order to meet rising demand for organic produce.

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado’s organic agricultural industry has more than doubled in sales – from $66.2 million in 2012 to $155.2 million in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual Certified Organic Survey.

Where Is the Wheat Market Headed? Brace yourself

Feb 10, 2017
Amy Bickel / The Hutchinson News

I don’t think there’s anybody on the planet who thought the wheat market could go as low as it did this past year.

But when it decided to go low, it did so with a great deal of passion. It headed right for $2.50 and just kept clawing away day after day till it got there. And just to punctuate its success, it decided to keep on going down. I should have taken a picture of my computer screen when it showed cash wheat in Dighton, KS at $2.20 a bushel. Who would have ever believed that? I hadn’t seen prices that low since 1977 when wheat in Dighton in February was $2.17 a bushel.

Layton Ehmke

Following months and months of incredibly dry weather, the good news is that much of Kansas finally got some badly needed rain, ice and snow several weeks ago back in January. With that precip, the wheat plant roots are finally starting to grow.

And it looks like a fair amount of the Kansas wheat crop now has a future.

Frank Morris / Harvest Public Media

How low can it go?

That’s what many in farm country asked about the farm economy Tuesday, after the Agriculture Department forecast another plunge this year in profits for farmers.

Net farm income will fall 8.7 percent from last year’s levels, according to the year’s first forecast produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS). If realized, that would mark the fourth-straight year of profit declines, after 2013 saw record-highs.

Colorado State University

A Colorado State University crop and soil scientist recently secured funding for sites in northeastern Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska to look at ways diversifying crop rotations and using cover crops can maintain yields, keep soils productive, reduce environmental impacts and address retention of soil carbon and water.

Megan Schipanski, CSU crop and soil scientist, applied for the grant and extension personnel on the High Plains will be assisting in local areas by providing a solid producer base for onsite research

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A western Kansas farming family struggling to keep their fifth-generation farming operation afloat amidst a slump in corn, wheat and other commodity prices is featured in a Wall Street Journal article about the struggling farm economy.

The ongoing slump in corn, wheat and other commodity prices, caused by global oversupply, is putting many farmers in debt and in some cases, resulting in farm closures.

Is organic meat more humane than conventionally raised meat?

Rules that would create animal welfare standards for livestock certified as organic have been delayed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday, giving opponents new hope that they will be quashed.

CC0 Public Domain

Options are available to those interested in getting into farming or ranching.

According to the Center for Rural Affairs (CFRA), alternative crops and high value markets offer profit potential and lower risk for new farmers.

Energy Central

The number of jobs supported by the wind industry has cracked the 100,000 mark, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Energy.

As Energy Central reports, the milestone means wind power now employs more workers than nuclear, natural gas, coal, or hydroelectric power plants. And one out of every four of those wind workers are employed in the state of Texas.

Amy Bickel / The Hutchinson News

TOPEKA – Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Kansas Department of Agriculture Secretary Jackie McClaskey are urging government officials to consider that Kansas landowners have implemented efforts to protect the lesser prairie chicken and that a threatened or endangered listing is not warranted.

In rural Nebraska, over 70 percent of the state’s net job growth come from people creating their own jobs, by owning their own businesses, but a current law is undermining the success of small business by favoring online retailers.

Aurelijus Valeiša / Creative Commons

Amazon will soon begin charging a sales tax in the Sooner State, reports The Oklahoman.

The online retailing behemoth will start collecting the tax beginning on March first. But, unfortunately, those extra collected funds will not go toward easing the burden of Oklahoma’s massive budget shortfall.

That’s because the extra Amazon revenue was already built into Oklahoma’s budget estimates.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Perhaps no one is as aware of the climate and its impact on the earth than a farmer.

The New York Times recently featured one such farmer in north central Kansas, Doug Palen, a fourth-generation farmer who the Times reports has choked through the harshest drought to hit the Great Plains in a century, punctuated by freakish snowstorms and suffocating gales of dust.

madabandon / Flickr Creative Commons

President Trump’s trade agenda may be on a collision course with the interests of his rural voters.

A recent Vox article suggested that starting trade wars with our allies would be “a disaster for American farmers.”

The irony lies in the fact that Trump was swept into power on the votes of rural Americans—farmers and ranchers who had grown frustrated with the amount of regulation enacted by Obama’s White House.

Rebajae / Wikimedia Commons

The Dallas Morning News has written an appeal to President Trump, urging him not to cut off Texas’s economic contact with its neighbor to the south.

The editorial noted that Mexico is one of the key reasons the Lone Star State’s economy has been strong in recent years. And, the editors stated, threatening a trade war over the building of a border wall will hurt Texas more than any other state.

50states.com

Rural Colorado is most at risk in Trump trade war with Mexico.

As The Denver Post reports, if the Trump Administration imposes a 20 percent levy on Mexican imports to help pay for a border wall, a move that could cause Mexico to retaliate, it would put Colorado’s ranchers, manufacturers and natural gas producers at risk.

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BNSF Railway Company plans to spend significant money on track renovations for the line used by Amtrak for Southwest Chief passenger service.

As The Kansan reports, most of the $125 million that BNSF plans to use the money on the La Junta subdivision, meaning renovations to tracks from Emporia west to Topeka, Newton and Garden City.

The company announced its 2017 capital expenditure plan in a Jan. 19 news release.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

A war is brewing over what you pour on your breakfast cereal.

Dairy farmers say the makers of plant-based milks – like almond milk, soy milk and a long list of other varieties – are stealing away their customers and deceiving consumers. And they’d like the federal government to back them up.

At its heart, the fight boils down to the definition and use of one simple word: milk.

Colorado farm and ranch income has hit its lowest level in 30 years, according University of Colorado Boulder research.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, much of agriculture is suffering in Colorado, which like other parts of the High Plains region is facing low corn, wheat and cattle prices.

Creative Commons

After finally rising to over $50 dollars a barrel, oil prices have begun to slump again as U.S. producers continue to expand output.

As Bloomberg reports, U.S. drilling rose last week to its highest level in over a year. The expanded production comes after OPEC followed through on its promise to ramp down production. In the wake of the OPEC announcement, Russia also cut its drilling operations.

Amy Bickel / The Hutchinson News

Lane County farmer Vance Ehmke calls himself one of those guys who sees a dark cloud in front of every silver lining.

Ehmke, who sells certified seed, harvested the best wheat crop of his lifetime in June. But as a glut of grain piled high at many Kansas elevators, commodity prices collapsed, sending producers into a farm crisis not seen since the 1980s.

NY - http://nyphotographic.com/

Several Kansas counties could be impacted if President Donald Trump pulls federal funding away from what the Center for Immigration Studies refers to as sanctuary counties.

According to KWCH , six counties in Kansas are considered sanctuary counties by the Center for Immigration Studies - Finney, Butler, Harvey, Johnson, Sedgwick and Shawnee counties.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

In a hog barn in rural Iowa, veterinarian Paul Thomas’s approach sends pigs scurrying. He watches for unusual behavior. As he walks the length of the barn, Thomas notices one of the two-month-old hogs nestled against the railing at the edge of its pen and reaches over to gently pet the pig’s back. The pig shakes its head and drowsily gets up.

“He’s just sleepy,” Thomas says, and by the time he’s spoken the words, the pig has trotted off to join its pen-mates.

In the next room, Thomas hears something different.

The Oklahoman

The number of new oil rigs has soared recently in Oklahoma, as well as nationwide, The Tulsa World reports.

The rise of the rigs can be attributed to recent optimism in the oil and natural gas sectors.

According to the oilfield service company Baker Hughes, the number of rigs in the U.S. jumped by 35 this week. That’s the largest weekly gain in almost five years. Oklahoma added seven new rigs.

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