HPPR Economy and Enterprise

Texas Poverty
8:00 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Texas: Number of Children Living in Poverty on the Rise

Credit netexas.bucknerconnect.com

The percentage of children living in poverty has risen 47 percent since 2000 , despite an improving Texas economy reported the Texas Tribune.  

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Agriculture
8:00 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Is Milo the Next Big Crop on the High Plains?

Credit whyilovewesttexas.com

Drive across the high plains this time of year, and you see it-- pyramids of white, red, yellow that resemble a sandpainting.  Some area farmers, like Mitchell Baalman of Hoxie, Kansas, are putting their money on milo reported Dan Charles for NPR’s The Salt.

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Texas State Government
8:00 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

New Proposal Has Texas Power Companies Paying Twice

Credit greatamericanthings.net

The Public Utility Commission of Texas is proposing a change in the running of the state’s electricity market according to State Impact Texas.

Power companies get paid when they produce electricity, but the new proposal adds a second payment for owning or building power plants.  The goal is to encourage the building of new power plants.  New plants would help avoid power shortages that have caused rolling blackouts.

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Western Kansas
8:00 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Morland, Kansas Gets Its Grocery Store Back

Morland, Kansas
Credit getruralkansas.org

The grocery store in Morland, Kansas, reopened November 2 according to the Wichita Eagle.  

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Harvest Public Media story
8:00 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Canned pumpkins aren’t grown for their looks.

Field of Libby’s Select pumpkins, a hybrid of the Dickinson pumpkin. The inside is orange but the outside is closer to beige, similar to a butternut squash.

This Thanksgiving, hungry families all over the country will finish off their holiday meal with a little slice of the Midwest. That’s because the vast majority of all pumpkin that comes from a can and winds up in a pie got its start on a vine in Illinois.

Pumpkin patches are popular destinations for families seeking fall fun and you’ll find roadside farm stands all over the country. But pumpkins are big business in Illinois, where farmers feed canning factories hungry for a special kind of pumpkin that looks nothing like those you see on Halloween.

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Small Business
8:00 pm
Sun November 24, 2013

Why Are Things Different for Rural Businesses?

Credit myruraltv.com

Running a business in a rural setting is a horse of a different color said a recent article in Dodge City Daily Globe. Rural businesses have different circumstances than in urban areas, said Wendy Veatch, the director of outreach programming at Wichita State University's Center of Entrepreneurship.

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Oil & Gas
8:00 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Meet the Wildcatters Behind the National Fracking Boom

Credit cpr.org

Fracking has revolutionized the oil and gas industry.  It has shifted the position of the Untied States from being energy dependent on other countries to becoming energy independent according to Gregory Zuckerman of the Wall Street Journal.  Zuckerman’s new book, “The Frackers, The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters,” introduces readers to the men behind the new technology. 

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Texas Oil and Gas
8:00 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Texas Oil and Gas Booming: Investors Beware

Credit kuhf.org

The Texas oil and gas boom is bringing in the money, but it’s also bringing in the scammers.  KUHF News reported the person running the company gathering investors might be a felon, and that's okay with the State of Texas.

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Harvest Public Media story
5:59 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Under the microscope: Microbes can help farmers

Researchers at chemical company BASF are working to harness bacteria and microbes for beneficial purposes.
Credit Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

Farmers and scientists have long understood that what lives beneath the soil affects how crops grow. Often, they work to fight plant diseases—warding off infectious viruses and damaging fungi, for example. But now some microbiologists are focused on how to harness the good things microbes can do, with the goal of increasing farmers’ yields and diminishing their dependence on chemical inputs.

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Agriculture
8:00 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Annie’s Project: Helping Texas Panhandle Women Take the Farming Reins

DeDe Cummins sits next to an irrigation well at her farm in the Texas Panhandle.
Credit David Bowser / texastribune.org

Farming is a man’s world.  Despite that, the U.S. 2007 census shows women are a growing presence in agriculture, up 30% from 2002 to 2007.   Out of the 247,000 farms in Texas, 35,000 have principal operators who are women according to recent article in the Texas Tribune.

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Beef prices
8:01 pm
Sun November 17, 2013

Higher beef prices good for producers, may be tough on consumers

These cattle on Jeff Longnecker's farm in Story County, Iowa, are part of a herd he's hoping to grow.
Credit Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

Once again, the prognosticators are saying beef prices are on the rise. We’ve seen this before—last year, the drought and high feed prices were being blamed. This time, the supply is tight and with livestock farmers looking at lower costs of production, some may keep animals on the farm to help increase their herds, rather than sending them to market. Since consumer demand typically goes up at this time of year, Lee Schulz, a livestock economist at Iowa State University, said the combination will increase the price meatpackers pay to producers.

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Harvest Public Media story
4:14 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Filling a hole in the organic pipeline

Organic meat producers depend on having organic farm to feed their livestock. But conventional acres far outstrip organically raised acres in the Midwest.
Credit Clay Masters for Harvest Public Media

Organic food is a hot market in the U.S. The Organic Trade Association says that sales over the last five years have grown 35 percent. But there’s a problem in the supply chain – not enough organic grain.

Many producers in the farm belt aren’t willing to take on organic production despite a hefty price premium. That has left organic food companies scrambling to find enough raw ingredients for the products that hit grocery store shelves. Just as corn and soybeans dominate conventional processed food and meat, these same grains are often key ingredients for organic foods.

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Food Processing
8:00 pm
Sun November 10, 2013

Cargill Will Include Beef Binder in Label

Credit thedailygreen.com

Cargill recently announced that it will begin labeling packages of ground beef containing what is colloquially known as pink slime according to The New York Times.  

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Agriculture & Local Foods
5:46 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Interview with Joel Salatin: Local food evangelist

Joel Salatin on his farm in Virginia
Credit Creative Commons

Listen as Harvest Public Media's Luke Runyan speaks with Joe Salatin.

Joel Salatin is one of the rock stars of the local food movement. He’s written books, appeared in documentaries and scheduled speaking engagements nationwide. Among foodies, he’s a celebrity.

He’s also a vocal critic of industrialized agriculture. Salatin criticizes the use of pesticides, herbicides, genetic modification in crops, and hormones and antibiotics in livestock.

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Personal Economics
8:00 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Kansas: Cold Weather Rule in Effect

Credit hutchpost.com

  November 1 is the day the Cold Weather Rule goes into effect for Kansans.  The Kansas Corporation Commission created the policy to prevents electricity and gas companies from discontinuing service to those who fall behind on winter utility bills according to The Wichita Eagle

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Harvest Public Media story
5:46 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Science not likely to decide food issues

Panelists, including Frances Moore Lappe (second from left), speak to a symposium at the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa.
Credit Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

Hot-button food issues of the day, such as the use of genetically modified organisms or the treatment of livestock, tend to pit large industries against smaller activist groups. Often, both sides will claim the science supports what they are saying. That can leave consumers, most of whom aren’t scientists, in a bit of a bind.

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Oil & Gas
8:04 pm
Sun November 3, 2013

Legislators and architects: build pipelines faster, and put bicycle paths on top

Credit SWA Group

As 485 miles of Keystone XL pipeline lies dry in Texas, lawmakers are proposing legislation that would expedite the process of approving cross-national pipelines like the Keystone XL.

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Innovation
8:00 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Cloned in Canadian: First Quarter Horses and Now Deer

Gregg Veneklasen, left, holds a blue roan horse named Royal Blue Boon Two, while Jason Abraham holds a sorrell, Lynx Melody Too.
Credit amarillo.com

This time of the year, most deer hunters are focused on where to find the big one, not Canadian rancher Jason Abraham.  Abraham and his partner, Gregg Veneklasen, a Canyon veterinarian, are busy cloning their trophies.

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Agriculture
12:08 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Heat, Drought Draw Farmers Back To Sorghum, The 'Camel Of Crops'

A test field of sorghum outside Manhattan, Kan., planted by Kansas State University.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 4:07 pm

Much of the world is turning hotter and dryer these days, and it's opening new doors for a water-saving cereal that's been called "the camel of crops": sorghum. In an odd twist, this old-fashioned crop even seems to be catching on among consumers who are looking for "ancient grains" that have been relatively untouched by modern agriculture.

Sorghum isn't nearly as famous as the big three of global agriculture: corn, rice and wheat. But maybe it should be. It's a plant for tough times, and tough places.

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Agriculture
8:00 pm
Sun October 27, 2013

Could An Aqueduct from the Missouri River Help Preserve the Ogallala Aquifer and SW Kansas Life?

The Kansas Aqueduct route, proposed in the 1982 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study, would have drawn water from the Missouri River and pumped it 600 kilometers (375 miles) uphill to the western plains. Neither reservoir shown on the map exists; both were part of the aqueduct project.
Credit Southwest Kansas Groundwater Management District

State officials and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are re-evaluating a seminal 1982 federal water supply study that proposed transporting billions of gallons annually from the Missouri River to farms 375 miles away stated a recent article in Circle of Blue.  

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Harvest Public Media story
7:53 am
Sat October 26, 2013

Rural neighbors split on wind energy lines

Credit PJMixer / flickr commons

The rolling plains of Midwest farm country are being tapped for their natural resources again. This time, though, the bounty would be wind energy, instead of corn, wheat or soybeans.

Houston-based utility company Clean Line Energy Partners wants to produce a massive amount of wind energy on the plains. To do that, the company plans to build five large-scale high voltage transmission lines that would criss-cross the country, three of which would bring energy from Midwestern windmills to the energy grid to the east.

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Harvest Public Media field note
7:52 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Guilty plea to criminal charges has implications for the entire food industry

Credit News21 – National/Flickr

The Colorado farmers who distributed cantaloupes infected with listeria two years ago pleaded guilty in federal court to criminal charges Tuesday. Jensen Farms, located outside Holly, Colo., was the source of the outbreak that killed 33 people nationwide.

The outbreak was the deadliest in more than 20 years. Cantaloupes processed in the summer of 2011 at Jensen Farms near the Kansas border were laden with Listeria. It’s a pathogen infamous for its high mortality rate.

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HPPR Economy and Enterprise
10:38 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Kansas Farmers Commit To Taking Less Water From The Ground

The long arms of pivot irrigation rigs deliver water from the Ogallala Aquifer to circular fields of corn in northwestern Kansas.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 7:38 am

If you've flown across Nebraska, Kansas or western Texas on a clear day, you've seen them: geometrically arranged circles of green and brown on the landscape, typically half a mile in diameter. They're the result of pivot irrigation, in which long pipes-on-wheels rotate slowly around a central point, spreading water across cornfields.

Yet most of those fields are doomed. The water that nourishes them eventually will run low.

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Manufacturing
8:00 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Amarillo Manufactured V-22 Osprey: Testing New Capabilities

Credit amarillo.com

There’s a new use for the V-22 Osprey.  The military has it’s eye on the aircraft that was developed to carry troops and supplies as a refueling tanker.  An aerial trial was recently conducted in the Texas Panhandle to demonstrate the V-22’s capability of refueling strike aircraft according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

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Harvest Public Media story
7:27 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Grain bin rescues difficult and dangerous

Firefighters train for a grain bin rescue on a simulator with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety.
Credit Pat Blank for Harvest Public Media

Grain bins on rural farms filled with a year’s harvest can be dangerous and when workers become trapped in the grain, it often ends in death. That’s why in Iowa, volunteer fire departments are using training and new equipment to increase the chances of survival in an entrapment.

A study by Purdue University shows the overall death rate from accidents on American farms has been declining. However, the number of fatalities from grain bin entrapments has been stubbornly steady, hitting an all-time high of 51 in 2010.

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UT Studies Methane Leaks
8:00 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

University of Texas Fracking Study: Results and Politics

Oil fields in the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico, an Apache Energy site where wells were drilled in February last year.
Credit Jim Wilson / nytimes.com

The University of Texas at Austin has been measuring how much methane leaks from natural gas production sites after hydraulic fracturing.  Advocates on both sides of the fracking issue have been waiting for results to back their positions according to the Texas Tribune.

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Harvest Public Media story
6:09 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Sure beats shipping containers back empty: a growing ag export opportunity

A specially designed machine manufactured by A-Ward for unloading grain, sugar, cotton seed, malt, rice, soya beans and other bulk agriculture products from standard shipping containers.
Credit http://a-ward.com/industry/food-industry/

A huge new rail yard has been buzzing on the outskirts of Decatur, Ill. Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) recently opened the 275-acre facility that would be at home at any major port city on the coast. But it’s in the heart of Illinois farm country because farmers have been taking advantage of a new method of shipping out their products.

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Beaten by Beef
8:24 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

The long, slow decline of the U.S. sheep industry

Credit Tatiana Bulyonkova / flickr commons

Hear the audio version of Luke's story

Over the last 20 years, the number of sheep in this country has been cut in half. In fact, the number has been declining since the late 1940s, when the American sheep industry hit its peak. Today, the domestic sheep herd is one-tenth the size it was during World War II.

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Healthcare
8:00 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

High Plains States Have the Lowest Overdose Rates

Credit hangthebankers.com

A report recently released by the non-profit Trust for America’s Health shows that states across the high plains region have the lowest overdose rates according to the Kansas Health Institute.

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Harvest Public Media story
8:45 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Cheap, plentiful and seemingly in everything

Corn is ubiquitous and there are two broad reasons for that: it is cheap and it is versatile.

The price of corn held steady—and low—for decades before the ethanol market took off . But even in recent years when the price shot up over $8-a-bushel, it remained viable as a raw material for many uses beyond food, animal feed and fuel.

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