HPPR Economy and Enterprise

Harvest Public Media story
7:39 pm
Sun October 6, 2013

Expected bumper crop has price of corn dropping

Farmers have been riding a wave of high corn prices in recent years, but an expected bumper crop has corn prices dropping.
Credit www2.dupont.com

On a clear fall day in central Iowa, Aaron Lehman climbed into the cab of his green combine with a screwdriver to do some maintenance. He was hoping his corn had a couple more weeks to grow before harvesting because the price per bushel this fall is much lower than it has been for the past three years.

Corn farmers have been riding high prices for the last few years. But an expected bumper crop has prices falling this harvest season, and many economists expect the price of corn to drop to its lowest level in recent years.

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Ogallala Aquifer Key to Ag Success
8:00 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Kansas Agriculture: What Counties Make the Most Money?

Irrigation Sprinkler in Southwest Kansas
Credit harvestpublicmedia.org

The top ag revenue counties in Kansas are not in the east where water flows freely in rivers and creeks.  The top producers are in the dry west according to Drovers Cattle Network.

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Agriculture
8:00 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Southeastern Colorado Farmer Has First Hemp Harvest

Ryan Loflin stands in his hemp field
Credit Hemp Industries Association

The first known hemp harvest in more than fifty years began this month in southeastern Colorado according to Denver Westward Blogs.

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Food Regulation
8:00 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Under Oklahoma Legislative Review: The Illegality of Delivering and Advertising Raw Milk

Credit simplyyourhealth.com

It’s illegal in Oklahoma to deliver or advertise raw milk, and a growing number of Oklahomans are choosing raw milk.  The increased demand has prompted an interim legislative impact study on the legalization of raw milk delivery and advertising according to State Impact Oklahoma.

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Harvest Public Media story
7:40 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Is millet the next trendy grain?

Millet, long an ingredient in birdfeed, could be the next food to capitalize on the heritage grain trend.
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

   

Heritage grains are trendy. Walk through a health food store and see packages of grains grown long before modern seed technology created hybrid varieties, grains eaten widely outside of the developed world: amaranth, sorghum, quinoa.

But there’s another grain with tremendous potential growing on the Great Plains: millet.

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Study from Texas A&M
7:18 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Expand the beef industry to get more value from the Ogallala?

Credit ed_needs_a_bicycle / flickr commons

With the Ogallala aquifer declining, there’s the inevitable question of how best to use the water remaining.  A recent study from Texas A&M suggests one answer: expand the cattle production and processing industries and rely on bringing in more “imported” grain and the “virtual” water it brings to the region.

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Harvest Public Media story
5:29 pm
Sun September 29, 2013

Largely unpopular, direct payment subsidies persist

A scene in the county agent's office in San Augustine, TX of a farmer receiving his AAA check in 1939. The Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) of 1933 was the start of a long series of “farm bills” to provide federal support to agriculture. The current system of direct and countercyclical payments dates to the 1996 Farm Bill.
Credit Russell Lee/ Farm Security Administration /LOC

Hear the audio version of Frank's story

Congress is bitterly divided on food stamps and other issues contained in the farm bill, but both political parties agree on something: the $5 billion-a-year farm subsidy called Direct and Countercyclical Payments has got to go.

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Federal Helium Reserve
5:52 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Amarillo facility avoids the “helium cliff”

Postcard view from the mid-20th century of the Amarillo Helium Plant operated by the US Dept. Of Interior as part of the Federal Helium Reserve.
Credit High Country News

Amarillo’s Federal Helium Reserve got a reprieve Thursday as the Senate unanimously approved a bill extending the reserve, a day after the House approved the measure, also unanimously. Without the legislation, the facility would have been forced to shut down on October 7th under older legislation.  The reserve provides 42% of the country’s helium and 35% of the world’s.

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Harvest Public Media story
6:27 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Sticker shock – it’s not just on new tractors anymore

Brand new 2014 John Deere 2014 model S-690 combine on display in the field at sunset.
Credit John Deere / http://www.deere.com/

Buying a new farm tractor costs almost as much as a new home in a decent suburb.  

Shelling out $200,000 or more for shiny new John Deere, Case IH, New Holland or other name brand horsepower to work the fields of a 21st century Midwestern farm isn’t unusual, farmers and dealers say.

What seems more unusual, to newcomers to farm economics at least, is that those shiny new models aren’t the hottest selling big iron on many dealers’ lots.  That would be the used tractors that were traded in when the new models rolled off the dealers’ flatbed trucks.

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Healthcare
8:00 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

KanCare After Nine Months: How It’s Working in SW Kansas

Credit nabholz.com

Nine months into the Kansas Medicaid makeover, health care providers are struggling with KanCare reported the Kansas Health Initiative

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Harvest Public Media story
7:41 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

End of Tax Break Could Affect Tractor Sales

Illinois farmer Len Corzine is surrounded by some of his brand new farm equipment.
Credit Bill Wheelhouse/Harvest Public Media

On a hot August day in late August, Kevin Bien stands in the shade of a large gray piece of farm equipment.  The brand marketing manager for Gleaner Combines gives his best spiel to a group of farmers attending the Farm progress Show  in Decatur, Ill.   Torque, efficiency, and new technology are among his key points for the prospective buyers of the large machines that can run anywhere from $300,000 to $500,000.    

And farmers are buying. Frequently.

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Livestock
5:15 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Area Pork Producers Fighting Against a Deadly Virus Possibly Carried by the Wind

Credit hutchnews.com

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, or PEDv, is a heat-sensitive virus than can kill up to 100% of piglets that contract it, and hog producers in the Oklahoma Panhandle and Southwestern Kansas are battling the disease that experts now believe is carried on the wind reported the Global Post.  That’s devastating news for high plains farmers where the wind is a strong, consistent force of nature. 

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Harvest Public Media story
12:02 pm
Sat September 21, 2013

Eyes in the sky snap rural America

Satellite view of a Western Kansas farmstead
Credit Google Earth

Long before unmanned drones buzzed though rural America’s skies, pilots have been recording birds-eye views of the changing history of the nation’s farms and ranches.

Some worked for the government.   But others were entrepreneurs, just trying to make a buck or two.  Now, they are using the Internet too.

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Healthcare
9:37 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Texas: Most Uninsured Children and Poor Adults in the Nation… Again

Credit texastribune.org

Once again, estimates recently released by U.S. Census Bureau say Texas has the most uninsured in the nation according to a recent article from The Texas Tribune.    

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Wind Energy
8:00 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Google: Powered by The Happy Hereford

Credit Flickr/Creative Commons License

Google has added a huge amount of renewable energy to its portfolio:  The Happy Hereford wind farm outside Amarillo.  Google has agreed to purchase the entire output, 270-megawatts, of the wind farm according to KCET

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Lobbying
8:01 pm
Sun September 15, 2013

Want a Tesla car in Texas? You'll have to order it online

You can look. You can touch. But you can't quite buy it here. The Tesla S at the company's showroom in Austin.
Credit Olivia Gordon/StateImpact Texas

It's the newest high-end electric car on the market, and it's not sold in Texas. It's not being sold in many other states, either.

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Oil & Gas
8:00 pm
Sun September 15, 2013

Battery Theft Afflicts Oil and Gas Drillers

Credit texastribune.org

Batteries in the oil field cost a few hundred more than a car battery, and they’re used to power equipment that monitors pipelines.   Battery supply companies buy the batteries- dead or alive, and that seems to be an open door for theft reported The Texas Tribune.  

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Agriculture
8:00 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Who Bought the Chunk of Texas

Credit amarillo.com

The 25 square-mile piece of Texas was auctioned off this week, and it’s no longer owned by one person.  According to the Amarillo Globe-News, purchasers bought pieces for the expected use of farming and ranching, but some had diverse purposes in mind. 

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HPPR Economy and Enterprise
8:00 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Susan Werner: Celebrating agriculture through music

Chicago-based musician Susan Werner has worked on concept albums before – from jazz standards to pop classics to Gospel music for agnostics. Her new album is described as “egg meets art,” celebrating the culture of agriculture through music. Harvest Public Media reporter Laura Spencer spoke with Susan Werner. Her new CD, Hayseed, was co-commissioned by the University of Nebraska’s Lied Center for the Performing Arts and the Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR).

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Business
8:00 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Amarillo: Local Grocery Chain Purchased by National Company

Credit unitedtexas.com

United Family Supermarkets will be a subsidiary of Albertson’s.  The family who started United will leave the business, but Robert Taylor, CEO, will be retained as well as well as staff reported the Amarillo Globe-News.

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Harvest Public Media story
8:01 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Farmville helps explain farm bill

Farmville players build and care for their own Facebook farm. Like real-life farmers, players plan their moves based on policy.
Credit courtesy of Zynga

The farm bill is, once again, entering a critical stretch. As was the case last year, the current law expires at the end of September. There’s no election to dissuade elected officials from tackling the major piece of agriculture and nutrition policy—but Congress does have a pretty full plate, with the crisis in Syria, immigration reform and a measure to continue funding federal government programs all set to come to a head.

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Healthcare
8:00 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

HHS Report Recommendations Put Small Rural Hospitals at Risk

Credit raconline.org

The United States Department of Health and Human Services issued a report with recommendations that, if acted upon, could put hundreds of small, rural hospitals in jeopardy according to an article by the Kansas Health Institute.

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Transportation
10:29 am
Mon September 9, 2013

SW Kansas Trio Work to Save Current Route

Credit amtrak.com

The Southwest Chief runs from Chicago and Los Angeles, with a route through Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico.  Poor track conditions have caused the Southwest Chief to reduce speeds through Kansas reported the Dodge City Globe

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Harvest Public Media story
8:00 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

Horse slaughter divides horse lovers

Credit Bill Lollar flickr / creative commons

Most Americans don’t eat horse meat, and they don’t like the idea of horses being slaughtered, but a handful of investors are struggling to restart a horse slaughter industry in the United States.

The investors argue that reviving horse slaughter plants would be both good for the horse business and more humane than the current situation. They’re hoping to open a new horse slaughter plant near Gallatin, Mo., but opposition has the project mired in the legal system. The issue cleaves horse owners into two camps: one that views horses as pets and another that see them as livestock.

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Drought drives payments
8:50 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

What was your county’s crop insurance payout in 2012?

Credit Quentin Hope

  At $200 per acre, Trego County, KS topped the list of High Plains counties in per acre crop insurance payments in 2012.  Other top counties were Wallace County, KS at $157 per acre and Rawlins County, KS at $127 per acre.  All three are in Northwest Kansas.  At the bottom is the list was Hemphill County, TX in the northeast corner of the Panhandle with just $1 per acre on only 13,400 planted acres.

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Texas Panhandle
8:00 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Up For Auction: A 25 square mile chunk of Texas

Credit http://assiter.com/

On Thursday, September 12, 10:00am, an unusual auction will take place at McLean Cowboy Church in McLean.  Up for bids is the Chapman Ranch, a 16,000 acre parcel spanning roughly 25 square miles in Gray and Wheeler counties according to a recent article by the Amarillo Globe-News.

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HPPR Economy and Enterprise
8:01 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

What $154 million in payouts means to a county

Tim Kelly says sales have been steady at his independent John Deere dealership in Pontiac, Ill. — despite the devastation of last year’s corn crop.
Credit Darrell Hoemann/The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

Farmer Doug Wilson has been buying crop insurance since 1980. 

“You carry home insurance, hoping your house doesn’t burn down. We carry crop insurance, hoping our crops don’t burn down,” Wilson said on a sweltering day in mid-August as he walked among the healthy 8-foot corn stalks in one his fields in central Illinois. “But last year, they burned down — kind of literally.”

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Healthcare
8:00 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Affordable Care Act: Enrollment Period Nearing, Confusion Rising

Credit summacare.com

As October 1 is just a few weeks away, there seems to be even more confusion about the Affordable Care Act than ever.  According to a recent KUT article, it’s not only consumers who are perplexed by the program, but medical providers are too.

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Wind Energy
8:00 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Which is easiest to build, a wind farm or a transmission line?

The high plains are wind-rich, but the biggest need for energy is on the populous coasts.  The issue is easily seen.   State Impact Oklahoma shared these maps. 

The higher the wind speed, the higher the energy potential.  Look where the greatest potential is.

Now, notice where the transmission lines are located.

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Harvest Public Media field note
8:01 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

COOL too cumbersome for meat labeling?

Credit www.foodsafetynews.com

For several years now, there’s been a battle brewing over how much U.S. consumers need to know about where their meat comes from.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture is in the midst of implementing a new country-of-origin labeling rule, also known as COOL, that requires companies to label where animals were born, raised and slaughtered. The new rule also prohibits meat from two different animals from being comingled and sold in the same package.

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