High Plains Public Radio

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

woodlywonderworks / Flickr Creative Commons

From Harvest Public Media : You’re about to start paying less for eggs at the grocery store because egg farms are recovering from last year’s bird flu outbreak a bit faster than expected. The major disease outbreak took the lives of nearly 50 million chickens and turkeys last spring and summer, causing a hiccup in egg production that sent prices upward. But the number of hens nationally is now approaching pre-flu levels, and costs on the farm such as diesel fuel are holding low. “We’re...

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media : Science’s hottest new tool looks like it will be coming soon to the Corn Belt. Iowa’s DuPont Pioneer, the second-largest seed company in the world, announced this week that it plans to sell a new form of corn created with CRISPR-Cas plant breeding technology, the much-ballyhooed gene-editing tool. While the product still has to undergo field tests and further regulatory review, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says unlike other plants whose genomes have been...

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media : The population of Northern Colorado is booming. People are flocking to the area and population numbers are on the rise. The same thing is happening with dairy cows. Weld and Larimer counties already sport high numbers of beef and dairy cattle, buttressed by the region’s feeding operations. But an expansion of a cheese factory owned by dairy giant Leprino Foods will require even more cows to churn out the milk needed to produce bricks of mozzarella cheese and whey...

Wallethub

Amarillo is one of the best cities in America for Hispanic entrepreneurs, according to WalletHub. The personal finance website conducted an in-depth analysis of 2016’s Best Cities for Hispanic Entrepreneurs . Amarillo just missed the top ten, falling at number eleven on the list. WalletHub found that Hispanics are creating businesses at 15 times the rate in they did last year. Six of the top ten cities for Latino commerce were in Texas and Oklahoma, including Oklahoma City at number 10, Tulsa...

Dayton Daily News

Just three years after Colorado enacted sweeping marijuana legalization legislation, a faction of lawmakers in the state are looking to overhaul the law, reports The Durango Herald . The group has expressed concern about certain aspects of the current legislation. The nearly 50-page proposal has been referred to as a “wish list” by many observers. The proposal is titled, simply, “Concerning Marijuana.” It offers a window into the direction certain marijuana groups would like to take the...

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media : Near Alexander, Iowa, on a cloudy spring Tuesday, Josh Nelson watches a bright red Case IH Magnum tractor pull a 24-row planter and crest a small hill, dropping corn seed at careful intervals. Nelson says his family farm dodged a weather bullet this week, but it’s just one of many hurdles this season promises. Planting is underway across the Midwest. As farmers like Nelson put seeds in the ground, they’re also putting their confidence in another crop season and the...

Business is booming in Colorado, reports The Prowers Journal . According to a new report, in the first three months of the year business formation has rebounded. Colorado employment is also projected to expand over the next two quarters. The news was a welcome relief after two consecutive quarters of business decline. However, the state is experiencing a talent shortage, which is reflected in Colorado’s low unemployment rate of 3 percent. In the first part of this year, almost 30,000...

Prowers Journal

The employment situation in Colorado continues to boom, reports The Prowers Journal . Nonfarm payroll jobs increased by almost six thousand last month. That brings the total for the state up to well over two-and-a-half million jobs. At the same time, the unemployment rate decreased one-tenth of a percentage point to 2.9 percent—far below the national average. The Colorado unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since February 2001. The national rate fell, too, by a full half percentage...

Rural Blog

The rural grocery store crisis in Minnesota has become the focus of rural communities across the country, who see themselves in the woes of the Land of a Thousand Lakes. According to a recent survey , more than a third of rural Minnesota grocery store owners don't expect to be in business in five years. The problem? Competition from chain stores , including dollar stores and Walmart, which offer cheaper prices. Lack of community support has also been an issue. But, as The Rural Blog reports,...

Building fence facts

Apr 20, 2016
Deb Farris / KAKE

From Kansas Agland : Last week, livestock markets in Pratt and Reno counties helped raise $120,000 by auctioning off a donated heifer and two steer calves in an effort to raise funds to aid ranchers with wildfire losses in Reno, Harvey, Barber and Comanche counties. Ranchers across a 400,000-acre swatch have lost cattle. Some have lost homes, buildings. It burned their grass that the cattle were grazing on - and they lost their stockpiles of hay. They also lost fencing across ranches that...

Eric Kounce / Wikimedia Commons

For the first time in 12 years, Texas job creation has been lagging behind the rest of the nation. The numbers come from a new study by the Austin non-profit Texas Taxpayers and Research Association. “The ‘Texas Miracle,’ as our state’s nation-leading economic engine has been dubbed, is currently on ice,” said Dale Craymer, the author of the report. A large part of the blame can be placed on the sharp decline of oil prices that began nearly two years ago, says the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal ....

Ibraheem Al Omari / Reuters

Oil prices are set to plunge again, reports quartz.com . Oil producers gathered in Doha this weekend in an attempt to freeze production in the glutted crude oil market. With the news of the proposed production freeze, oil prices had recently soared by more than 30%. But the various oil interests failed to reach an agreement. As a result, oil prices opened down more than 5% in Asian trading. And the US benchmark West Texas Intermediate dropped immediately down to $38 a barrel. The producers at...

photographybanzai / Flickr Creative Commons

When it comes to income inequality between the sexes, Oklahoma has one of the worst pay gaps in the nation, reports the Tulsa World . Full-time working women in Oklahoma earn 73 cents for every dollar a man earns. That’s six cents less per dollar than the national average. The gap in Oklahoma adds up to over six billion dollars a year that women would receive if they were paid equally. To put the numbers in perspective, with that money women could pay for 95 more weeks of food, 10 more months...

Kathleen Masterson / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media : Midwest farmers are expected to plant a huge corn crop this year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts farmers will plant nearly 94 million acres of corn this season. That’s up 6 percent from last year’s planted acreage and would be the third-highest planted acreage in the U.S. since the 1940s. Prices for staples like corn and soybeans have been sliding in recent years thanks, in part, to oversupply. Another gigantic harvest of the Midwest’s most important...

Stuart Jenner / Thinkstock

According to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute , if the United States worked harder to make the genders more equal, it could advance its gross domestic product by trillions of dollars. Slate reports that the US performs poorly in six of 10 major indicators of gender equity. Areas where the country falls short include violence against women and business leadership representation. The report found that the US could add up to $4.3 trillion to its economy by 2025, if it increased...

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media: Some of the most important medicines doctors prescribe to fight infections are losing effectiveness and the Obama Administration is calling on farmers to help turn the tide against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A recent report by the president’s advisors on antibiotic resistance charts some progress but also left some critics urging for more immediate action. Antibiotics are used in many livestock feeding operations to treat sick animals. But some farmers also put...

tau0.wordpress.com

As the oil recession continues, some are beginning to wonder if this setback could turn into a full-fledged oil bust like the one that deeply wounded many Texas small-town economies. Communities across the western part of the Lone Star State are seeing businesses shutter as jobs are cut and production is slashed. As the Texas Observer reports, towns in the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford and Barnett shale regions are seeing unemployment rates rise. Small-town businesses like hotels and...

Calvin Mattheis / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland: It is evident from the sweeping acres of sorghum, wheat and pastures of cattle, the irrigated circles that can be seen from the sky, and from the scenic overlook at Dodge City where thousands of cattle are fattening: Kansas’ backbone is agriculture. Roughly 88 percent of Kansas’ land – more than 46.1 million acres – is devoted to farming and ranching, with more than 61,000 Kansans making a living from the land. And, as the world’s population nears 9 billion people, it’s...

technologyreview.com

Sometimes the modern world presents you with problems you couldn’t have anticipated. Texas is facing one such dilemma. It seems, according to MIT Technology Review , that the Lone Star State has too much renewable energy. Or perhaps “too much too soon” is a better way to put it. Wind and solar energy capacities have grown so quickly that they’ve left traditional power companies in a fix. When wind and solar companies are pumping out peak levels, these companies are finding it very difficult...

Pueblo Chieftain

The US Department of Agriculture announced a new program last week that will connect food hubs with area businesses and institutions in an attempt to connect producers and markets. That’s great news for producers in Pueblo, Colorado, reports The Pueblo Chieftain . Local ag producers have created a “value chain” to help locals eat food grown near where they live. Growers across the nation are trying to connect the dots on how to bring local food to the dinner tables of Americans. One of the...

texasaccidentlawyer.com

The number of rigs actively drilling for oil in the US dipped by another 10 this week, reports fuelfix.com —and the biggest losses came from the Lone Star State. That includes four rigs lost in the Granite Wash shale play of the Texas Panhandle. This leaves only four active rigs in the entire shale region. Even so, Texas is still home to 45 percent of the nation’s operating rigs. The US oil rig count now stands at 362, while the natural gas rig count declined by four rigs down to just 88....

agriculture.com

When the USDA released its March Prospective Plantings report, some ag experts and grain markets were baffled by the large shift toward corn acres. The report listed a prospective 94 million acres of the crop nationwide. That’s a six percent increase over last year, and would add another 941 million bushels to an already well supplied market, according to agriculture.com. So, what’s happening here? On the High Plains the increased corn acres appear to have come from substantial reductions in...

Jim Gehrz / Minneapolis Star Tribune

Over the past few years, you might have noticed new dollars stores popping up in your town or your neighborhood. In fact, dollar stores have swept across rural America at a staggering rate, notes a report by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune . About 6,000 dollar stores have opened since 2010. That brings the total number of dollars stores nationwide up to 30,000. In the last six years, consumer spending in dollar stores has skyrocketed from $30 billion to $45 billion. Many rural residents are...

Denver Post

Wind farms continue to pump out millions of dollars’ worth of renewable energy in Colorado. But, as the Denver Post reports , turbines are also big business for landowners these days. Colorado landowners received $9 million in lease payments from wind companies last year. And all this wind energy couldn’t have come at a better time for rural High Plains residents. Oil and gas profits have dwindled, and slumping commodity prices have cut into farm and ranch incomes. Turning the wind into...

Boom

Many of us grew up with stories of the Concorde, the supersonic passenger jet that could cross the Atlantic in the time it takes to watch The Godfather . The Concorde was a commercial failure, and was decommissioned 13 years ago. But now billionaire mogul Sir Richard Branson says his company, Virgin, will partner with Boom to succeed where the Concorde failed. And this time, says Branson, tickets will be affordable. Though as a billionaire, notes The Guardian , Branson uses the term ...

Wikimedia Commons

Crop insurance has come under fire in some quarters over the past few months. While this subsidized federal program remains very popular among many farmers, others have complained that the program helps mega-farmers outbid beginning, and small farmers on land. Others insist that the program forces land values to rise in an unfair way. In response to these concerns, t he Center for Rural Affairs decided to investigate with the help of an emeritus professor of Economics from Iowa State...

Drenaline / Wikimedia Commons

The US Department of Energy approved a project last week that would ship renewable energy directly from Oklahoma’s panhandle to cities in the southeastern United States. The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise reports that the 700-mile Plains and Eastern Clean Line project was okayed by the feds last Friday. The electricity transmission line will cross 14 Oklahoma counties before passing through Arkansas and ending north of Memphis, Tennessee. The $2.5 billion clean line project is privately...

BigTexan.com

Falling oil prices have caused many economic woes for West Texas. But the news isn’t all bleak, reports Nation’s Restaurant News . According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2016 Forecast, this year Texas restaurateurs should expect to see a 3.8-percent increase in sales. That will bring total revenue up over $52 billion for the year. Last year Texas ranked second in total restaurant sales behind California, and that ranking isn’t expected to change. Some restaurant chains are looking...

Ryan Kang / AP photo

HPPR listeners in eastern Colorado have probably noticed the explosion in popularity of pot-infused edibles. Marijuana-laced gummy bears, brownies, lollipops and pastries are all the rage in the Centennial State. But npr.org recently asked a burning question: Just how potent are these ganja-laced goodies? The answer? No one really knows. Studies have found some edible marijuana products to contain lower THC amounts than advertised. While other studies have found some of these treats are...

Lindsey Bartlett / Westword

The Colorado Department of Agriculture has unveiled a new program that's a first for the country, reports Westword.com. Under Colorado’s seed certification program, the state will tag hemp seeds with a “CDA Approved Certified Seed” label. The new certification aims to give the industrial hemp industry and its farmers more credibility. Similar labels are already used for products like rye, wheat and other traditional crops, after passing inspections for genetic identity and quality. Though it...

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