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

downtowngc.com

There’s work in western Kansas.  The region hasn’t seen a decline like the rest of the country said a recent article in RFD-TV Magazine

amarillo.com

Pattern Energy is moving components from Hutchinson and Abilene, Kansas, as well as Iowa, to the Texas Panhandle.  Sections of towers that hold the large blades in the air and the narcelles that hold the equipment that makes electricity from the turning blades are transported by trucks pulling specially built trailers.  The components are headed for two projects located north of Amarillo.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

When Colorado cantaloupe laden with the deadly pathogen listeria killed more than 30 people in 2011, shockwaves rippled throughout the food industry. The outbreak made one thing clear: huge cracks exist in the systems meant to keep our food safe to eat. Denver Post reporters Michael Booth and Jennifer Brown set out to explore those conflicts within food safety in their new book Eating Dangerously.

Drones: Coming soon to a farm near you?

Mar 24, 2014
Peter Gray/Harvest Public Media

Unmanned aerial vehicles aren’t just for spies or for the battlefield. Farmers all over the country think drones can give them a leg up, too.

Tech-savvy farmers have been waiting for years for the government to make up its mind about the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Right now, anyone flying a drone for business instead of as a hobby is actually breaking federal law. But the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which oversees U.S. airspace, says it plans to roll out rules for drones this year.

amarillo.com

The water level is down, and so are the number of people visiting Lake Meredith and the associated Alibates Flint Quarries.  However, the sites are still impacting the area’s economy in a positive manner said a recent article in the Amarillo News-Globe.

southunioncdc.org

Two energy companies are partnering to build the largest community solar array in Kansas.  Community-owned Midwest Energy and community solar developer Clean Energy Collective (CEC) signed an agreement to build a 1-MW community solar photovoltaic array according to a recent article in Utility Products.

wikipedia.org

Texas is one of four finalists trying to reel in Tesla Motors from California.  However, the state will not allow the company to sell its upscale electric cars directly to consumers because of long-standing state laws protecting and regulating auto dealerships according to the Texas Tribune.

Barb Blevins / High Plains Public Radio

We'll continue our visit to Beaver Creek Ranch with a look at Full Circle Aquaponics, a re-circulating system combining aquaculture (fish) and hydroponics (plants).  We'll start our tour in a  low-energy footprint greenhouse designed by Alice Hill and take a look at how tilapia fish and a variety of greens and lettuces support each other.

Peter Gray/Harvest Public Media

Bacon-loving shoppers prepare yourselves: A virus that has devastated piglets for nearly a year is causing lower pork supplies and higher prices.

amarillo.com

The Bell Amarillo plant is beginning to assemble roofs, floors, nose and tail sections of the Relentless 525—a new civilian helicopter said a recent article in the Amarillo Globe-News.

mississippi-crops.com

Panhandle farmers did well this year in the National Sorghum Producers competition reported Kevin Welch for the Amarillo Globe-News.

findyourspot.com

Amarillo ranks the 14th best city to start a business said a recent article in the Amarillo Globe-News.  

Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Many of the food terrorism scenarios outlined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration involve liquid.

And there’s good reason for that.

Kay Ledbetter / Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Over 300 participants attended the High Plains Dairy Conference in Lubbock, Texas.  Most of them were from Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado according to a University News release.

Phil Cauthon / Kansas Health Institute

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment approved the expansion of Seaboard Farms’ Ladder Creek hog farm according to a recent article from the Kansas Health Institute.

Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media

It sounds like the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster. Villains in trench coats scheme ways to cause the most destruction and chaos. They settle on a food company, an easy target, and plan to lace the products with a chemical or pathogen. The hero finds out the plan with enough time to save the day.

Barb Blevins / High Plains Public Radio

This week we begin a four-part series about the importance of expanding local food production and teaching people to learn to feed themselves whenever possible.  We'll start by visiting Beaver Creek Ranch in Rawlins County, Kansas.  This agritourism business operated by Jeff and Alice Hill includes a hunting lodge, a full-service family farm complete with fruit and vegetable gardens, poultry, beef and pork production, organic hard red winter wheat production, and a demonstration site for a system called Full Circle Aquaponics.  The day I arrived the place was really humming, thanks to the bee hives that provide pollination and honey.  Join us as we visit a fascinating place.

blog.heartland.org

Texas is the nation’s top energy producer.  It could also be the leader in slashing emissions of methane.  But it’s unlikely that state environmental regulators will embrace the opportunity according to a recent article from the Texas Tribune.  

JILL JOHNSON / LANDOV

A new study by the University of Texas at San Antonio found that placing wind turbines too closely together in a wind farm causes turbulence that reduces productivity according to a recent article by StateImpact Texas.  

blogs.democratandchronicle.com

Tri Global Energy and BNSF Railway have joined forces to create a clearinghouse for wind energy equipment east of Plainview, Texas according to The Amarillo Globe-News

FILIPA RODRIGUES / StateImpact Texas

A growing population and inadequate electricity supply has kept a looming energy crisis over Texans.  Rolling blackouts would come, or so it was predicted.  This month, a report from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) release its annual forecast of how much electricity Texas will have in the coming years, and thing don’t look so bad according to StateImpact Texas.

Michael Stravato / nytimes.com

Small, abandoned refineries dot the High Plains, but the domestic oil boom of domestic light-crude is breathing new life into some of them said a recent article in the New York Times.  

amarillo.com

A cloning project at West Texas A&M University is poised to enter the next phase of creating cattle that will produce top quality beef recently reported the Amarillo Globe-News.

tacticalminc.com

In Kansas, The Kansas Health Institute recently reported that more than 10,000 Kansans applied or Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) in January.  That is an increase of 20% over the monthly average since the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplace was launched.

wvut.org

Folks living in rural areas across the High Plains know when the weather is warm, propane is cheap.  When it gets cold, both demand and the price go up.  But, this season the price skyrocketed to unheard of levels due to the combination of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster, wet corn, and a string of winter storms. according to a recent article from StateImpact Oklahoma.

mysafetysign.com

Hydrochloric acid is commonly using in horizontal drilling because it’s relatively cheap, but companies are looking for safer alternatives to protect workers and the environment reported StateImpact Oklahoma

Mark Holm / nytimes.com

Colorado, Kansas, and New Mexico have until the end of the year to improve the railroad track or lose the Southwest Chief passenger rail line.  According to The New York Times Amtrak has asked the three states to put up $40 million over the next 20 years to help pay for track upgrades and maintenance to keep the track viable.  Unless all three states pitch in, Amtrak says it will potentially drop nine small-town stations in favor of existing track in Texas and Oklahoma. 

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

The average age of American farmers has been climbing for decades, and many say rural towns are at-risk without new blood. There are enough people who want to farm, but there’s trouble connecting beginning farmers and the communities that need them.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

On a frigid winter day, Chad Hart tries to warm his economics students at Iowa State University to the idea of managing some of the risk of farming using the commodity markets. Because, as he told them on the first day of class, farmers don’t make money planting or harvesting crops; they make money selling them. And Hart knows that marketing—managing those sales for the best profit—can be intimidating.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

When it comes to keeping data secure, farmers are worried about some of the same issues as the rest of us. Precision data from the farm could help drive new levels of productivity, but farmers have to decide just how much they want to share.

Precision agriculture started with satellite-guided tractors and maps recording pinpoint levels of grain yields during harvest. But farmers like Dave Beck are taking the next step.

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