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

Texas Minority Home Ownership Lags Far Behind Whites

Nov 12, 2015
Jolie McCullough / U.S. Census Bureau, 2014 American Community Survey

Texas minorities are less likely than white Texans to own their homes, reports The Texas Tribune. The state’s largest metro areas have some of the most substantial racial disparities among homeowners in the nation, according to U.S. Census data.

David Morris / Creative Commons

The Center for Rural Affairs has long heard complaints from small- and mid-sized farms that the federal crop insurance program unfairly benefits large corporate farms and causes land values to rise. So the Center decided to investigate. Their research determined that subsidized crop insurance indeed has an impact on land values.

Kansas Biologist Takes Issue with Textbook Ag Science

Nov 11, 2015
Professor John Richard Schrock

For decades Americans have been asking whether it’s better for the earth if humans are herbivores, carnivores or somewhere on the omnivore spectrum? Some textbooks purport to have the answers, claiming to show in graphs and clear language that “herbivore” is by far the best route for humans and the planet. The textbooks insist that any land used for crops will increase the world’s food supply. But biologist John Richard Schrock disagrees, reports Kansas Public Radio.

Colorado State University Photography

From Harvest Public Media:

Close to 60,000 jobs are set to open up in agriculture, food and natural resource sectors each year for the next five years, according to a report from Purdue University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Jacob Byk / Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

The importance of farming and ranching to the state’s economy touches all Kansans – and, according to the latest Kansas Department of Agriculture figures – the world.

In its latest figures, the department states that agriculture’s annual output was about $62 billion in 2012 – the most recent figures available – accounting for 43 percent of the state’s total economy.

Green Plains Buys Hereford Ethanol Plant

Nov 6, 2015
lada/photo / Creative Commons

Reuters reports that Green Plains, Inc., has purchased its second ethanol plant in a week. The facility, in Hereford, TX, was previously owned by Murphy USA Inc. The plant has an annual production capacity of 100 million gallons of ethanol. The facility was expected to close this month, but will now remain open.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture introduced a new website last week to help new and young farmers, reports The Rural Blog. Chris Clayton of DTN/The Progressive Farmer explains: "The site has links for new farmers, women in ag, youth and military veterans to detail some considerations farmers need to think about when going into farming. The site provides different topics or issues a person needs to consider when getting into farming.

As Gas Prices Fall, Kansas Oil Counties Suffer

Nov 2, 2015
Tim Evanson / Flickr Creative Commons

While Kansas consumers may be enjoying cheap gas at the pumps, the lower prices are hitting some oil-producing counties hard, reports The Wichita Eagle. These counties are being forced to cut spending and increase taxes to make up for the petroleum profit shortfall. Oil and gas property values in the state have fallen by percent this year. And 16 oil and gas-producing counties in Western Kansas have seen their total property values decline by 20 percent.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

In the wake of Texas's announcement that bit plans to build a massive gold bullion depository, major international precious metal firms are vying for a piece of the action, reports The Texas Tribune.

Garden City Co-op

From Kansas Agland:

After a multi-year drought, the scene has changed in Hamilton County.

Trucks filled with grain are lining up at the Syracuse elevator. Combines are out cutting late into the evening. Large mountains of grain sorghum are being piled on the ground at the cooperative and at the town's fairgrounds. 

John Wark / AP photo

The southern Colorado town of Pueblo was once an industrial town, a steelworker’s stronghold. But after the steel market crashed in 1982, the town had trouble recovering. Until now. The legalization of marijuana has led to a massive influx of new visitors, and many of them are coming to stay, reports The Guardian

Kansas Agland

From Kansas Agland:

GRIGSTON – There were plenty of signs to tell the South American trade buyers that – at least this fall – milo is king in western Kansas.

Mountains of milo dot about every Kansas elevator along Highway 96. What hasn’t been cut of the thick russet crop spreads across their route from Liberal to this tiny Scott County spot along the highway.

Colorado Unemployment Rate Continues to Fall

Oct 28, 2015
Jeffrey Beall / Flickr Creative Commons

The employment situation in Colorado continues to improve, according to recent job numbers. The Prowers Journal reports that the unemployment rate decreased two-tenths of a percentage point last month, to 4.0 percent.  The increase in total employment combined with the decrease in labor force caused the number of unemployed to decrease by 6,800. The national unemployment rate remained unchanged from August to September, at 5.1 percent.

AFP AFP / Getty Images

A Chinese investment company intends to purchase $1.3 billion in oil properties in Western Texas, reports member station KUT. The holding company signed a letter of intent last week to purchase the land through a limited liability partnership.

A Tour of a Meatpacking Facility with Temple Grandin

Oct 23, 2015
Rosalie Winard / The Economist

Much has changed in the American meatpacking industry since the publication of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle 109 years ago. The Economist recently joined animal-welfare and autism-awareness advocate Temple Grandin for a tour of a Colorado meat-processing facility. The Fort Morgan facility is a massive operation; the plant employs 2,100 people and slaughters 4,600 cows every day.

James M. Dobson / Garden City Telegram

The horizon south of Garden City, Kansas, will get a new addition soon. Ground was broken last week on the $235 million Meadowlark dairy processing plant, reports The Garden City Telegram. Governor Sam Brownback, in town for the groundbreaking ceremony, was thrilled about the new facility, saying: “We’ve heard in the past from dairies interested in Kansas that a limiting factor is the proximity of a milk processing plant.

Cropland Prices Droop, While Ranchland Values Soar

Oct 20, 2015
ksal.com

Lower grain prices have caused Kansas farmland prices to slump this year, reports the ­Dodge City Daily Globe. The value of Kansas cropland was down 2.2 percent as of Aug. 15, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Experts expect cropland values to slide even further in the coming months as the agriculture sector continues to struggle.

The statistics are in, and the unemployment rate in Kansas is down.

South Dakota Tribe to Open Marijuana Resort

Oct 14, 2015
United States Fish and Wildlife Service / Creative Commons

The Santee Sioux tribe of South Dakota may have discovered a new money-making model for native tribes across the US, according to The Guardian. The tribe will open the nation’s first marijuana resort on its reservation, hoping to sell its first marijuana cigarette on New Year’s Eve. Marijuana was legalized on the reservation in June.

bakeryandsnacks.com

New research shows that sorghum is the ideal crop for eastern Colorado. According to the Journal-Advocate, sorghum is cheaper to grow and produces higher yields on the Colorado plains than corn.

Staple Foods See a Drop in Price

Oct 9, 2015
Olle Svensson / Creative Commons

Staple foods have shown a decrease in price this year, reports The Rural Blog. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the total cost of 16 staple food items has dropped by 12 cents over the last year. Whole milk had the biggest drop, down 17 percent. Apples, bacon, cheddar cheese, flour, bagged salad, vegetable oil, Russet potatoes, white bread and chicken also declined in price.

High Plains Silos Juggle an Overflow of Crops

Oct 9, 2015
Gerald B. Keane / Public Domain

Many grain elevators on the High Plains still have a lot of wheat to move this year, reports agriculture.com. Some silos are hauling the summer wheat crop out of storage and onto ground piles or bunkers in anticipation of a large fall harvest. The US dollar is at a high value right now, and there’s a glut of wheat on the global market. That means many elevators have more grain than they know what to do with.

Texas Pushes for US to Reconsider Crude Oil Exports

Oct 7, 2015
Reuters/Richard Carson / Landov

You might be surprised to learn that the US does not export crude oil. But it’s true; the United States embargoed the export of black gold forty years ago. And many Texas lawmakers would like to see the ban overturned, reports StateImpact. In fact, the US House of Representatives may soon take up the measure.

Christopher Paquette / Creative Commons

From Harvest Public Media's Field Notes blog:

Have you noticed your grocery store’s organic section starting to spill over? It’s not your imagination. The organic sector is raking in the dough.

FCC Data Compiled by The Daily Yonder

High Plains residents with scanty internet have reason to rejoice this week. The Rural Blog recently reported on details of the Connect America Fund plan to bring high-speed Internet to more rural areas.

Jacob Byk / Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

McPHERSON - Autumn arrives in Kansas this week, but for Monte Dossett, the annual fall harvest has been commencing for a few weeks.

Willie Nelson to Market Cannabis Brand

Oct 1, 2015
Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

Pot smokers in Colorado and Washington may soon see a familiar face on the dispensary shelves. A New York-based equity firm is backing singer Willie Nelson’s plan to market his own plan of marijuana, reports The Wall Street Journal blog. The Redheaded Stranger hopes to make his cannabis brand, Willie’s Reserve, available in both states’ recreational markets, and anywhere else sales are legal.

In Austin, a New Type of Pet Business

Sep 30, 2015
Hexodus / Creative Commons

A new pet service opened in Austin this month, reports Texas Standard, but this is no ordinary kennel or groomer. The new business is the Pet Loss Center of Austin.

Texas Holds Half of the Fastest Growing Economies in US

Sep 29, 2015
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Half of the fastest growing economies in the US last year were found in Texas, reports The Wall Street Journal’s blog. Energy-rich Midland led the way with a 24 percent advance in gross domestic product. Other Texas economies that performed well were San Angelo, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Victoria, Corpus Christi, Odessa, Tyler and Austin-Round Rock. The top non-Texas performers were Lake Charles, Louisiana, Greeley, Colorado and Bismarck, North Dakota.

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