HPPR Economy and Enterprise

Agriculture
8:00 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Bushland USDA Ag Research Center: 75 years of putting theory into practice

Agriculture Research Service of the Southern Plains
Credit ars.usda.gov

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service of the Southern Plains is on a mission.  For 75 years, they’ve been working, “to sustainably balance today’s livelihoods with tomorrow’s needs.”  An article from the Amarillo Globe-News reported scientists at the facility do more than write research papers, they put them into practice. 

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Rural-urban gaps persist
8:48 pm
Mon September 2, 2013

The "digital divide" in now about adoption

Credit toastwireless.com

The “digital divide” between urban and rural areas used to be all about access to broadband internet service.  Today it is much more about adoption where access is now available. 

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HPPR Economy and Enterprise
8:43 pm
Sun September 1, 2013

Report criticizes incentives in the Federal Crop Insurance Program

Credit www.nebraska.tv

Farmers across the country received a record breaking 17.3 billion dollars in federal crop insurance payouts after last year’s drought.  While the payments were critical for the financial well-being of farmers, the National Resources Defense Council has issued a report critical of the structure of the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP).

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Healthcare
8:00 pm
Sun September 1, 2013

Uninsured: How things look on the high plains

Credit michaudinsurance.com

The latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals the percentage of uninsured people under the age of 65. 

Here’s how things look on the high plains:

  • Colorado: 17%
  • Kansas: 14.4%
  • Oklahoma: 21.8%
  • Texas: 25.7%
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Livestock
8:00 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Southeastern Colorado: Taking the Long View on a Long Drought

Credit usatoday.com

Listen to Colorado Public Radio's Colorado Matters. Cattle Ranching Walloped by Persistent Drought by Ben Markus

  Rain and snow have eased most of Colorado's extreme drought conditions, but not southeastern Colorado reported Colorado Public Radio.  And years of drought have taken their toil on the cattle industry.

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Oil & Gas
8:00 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

On the Horizon: Gasoline Without Ethanol Shortage… In Oklahoma?

A gas station in Oklahoma City promotes ethanol-free gasoline.
Credit JOE WERTZ / STATEIMPACT OKLAHOMA

It seems odd that in a state currently experiencing an oil boom, there could be a shortage of gasoline without ethanol, but it’s true according to a recent article by State Impact Oklahoma.  Pure gasoline is in short supply in the Central United States, and that includes Oklahoma.

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Study provides scenarios
8:00 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Projecting the future of the Ogallala Aquifer

Aerial view of center pivot irrigation fields

In 1960 just 3 percent of the Ogallala aquifer under Western Kansas had been tapped.  By 2010 it was 30 percent.  By 2060 it will be 69 percent.  And once depleted, it will take 500-1,300 years to completely refill.  These projections are all from a recently issued, comprehensive, four year study from Kansas State University. 

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Wind Energy
8:00 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Carson County Texas: Wind Project One of the First to Use New Transmission Lines

Credit Greentechmedia.com

Domestic Fuel reported financing is complete, and construction has begun on the Panhandle Wind project in Carson County, northeast of Amarillo.  Pattern Energy Group LP said the project will be among the first to use the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) transmission infrastructure according to a recent article by Greentechmedia.

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Healthcare
8:00 pm
Sun August 25, 2013

Texas: Is Increased Funding for Physician Shortage a Solution?

Plastic surgery residents Dr. Kristi L. Hustak, left, and Dr. Surjit S. Rai, center, checking a patients skin graft with the Faculty Plastic Surgeon Dr. John Bauer, right, at UTMB's John Sealy Hospital in Galveston, Monday, August 19, 2013.
Credit Texas Tribune

Texas lawmakers increased funding to address the shortage of physicians reported The Texas Tribune.  The medical community has doubts the addition is a long term solution.  “Nobody wants to see this pendulum swing, where there’s money for this biennium and no money the next biennium,” said Dr. David Wright, chairman of the Texas Medical Association’s education committee. “There has to be a better, more stabilized funding mechanism for all of this.”

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Oil & Gas
8:00 pm
Sun August 25, 2013

If Texas Were a Country: it would be one of the top oil producers in the world

Credit State Impact Texas

If Texas were its own country, it would be one of the top producing nations in the world reported State Impact Texas.  When you take a look, almost the entire state has some degree of oil production. 

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Oil & Gas
8:00 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Texas Leads the Country in Natural Gas Production

Credit State Impact Texas

State Impact Texas reported that Texas has about 23 percent of the country’s natural gas reserves.  Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has allowed more production than any other state.

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Oil & Gas
8:00 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Oklahoma: Does a booming oil industry need tax incentives?

Credit State Impact Oklahoma

As the oilfields boom in Oklahoma, so are the state tax credits for drilling reported State Impact Oklahoma.  

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Transportation
8:00 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Texas Roads: The oil boom has a price

A damaged portion of the IH 37 frontage road, south of FM 99 in Live Oak County, Texas on Friday, August 16, 2013. The road is on a list of roads that the Texas Department of Transportation has announced will be converted to gravel because the agency lacks funds to keep them maintained at a safe level.
Credit Eddie Seal / Texas Tribune

Next week 80 miles of Texas roads will begin the conversion from paved to gravel according to the Texas Tribune.  The oil boom has significantly increased traffic on many farm roads in South and East Texas.  The damage is extensive.  Dave Glessner, spokesman for the TxDOT says, “Since paving roads is too expensive and there is not enough funding to repave them all, our only other option to make them safer is to turn them into gravel roads."

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Healthcare
8:00 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Area Hospitals Penalized for Readmissions

Credit gstaadlife.com

The Texas Tribune recently reported the federal government is working to pay for better performance, and penalizing hospitals that have the highest rates of Medicare patients who are readmitted within 30 days of receiving treatment for heart failure, heart attacks, or pneumonia.  As part of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals can be penalized up to 1% of Medicare payment rates for all procedures this year, and up to 2% next. 

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Harvest Public Media story
8:00 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Both ways for Buffet: GMO and Organic

Howard Buffett stands in front of a lab being built on his research farm in southeastern Arizona
Credit Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

A Midwestern farmer with a well-known last name has set out to fight hunger on a global scale. Howard G. Buffett is the son of Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world. The younger Buffett believes that to help people, you must first make sure they can feed themselves. He has a 3,200-acre farm in Illinois and another in Arizona, where research is being done in hopes of learning how Africans can become better farmers.

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Livestock
8:00 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Cattle Rustling: Oklahoma and Texas up 40%

Credit Steve Ritter

Cattle rustling is up almost 40% this year in Oklahoma and Texas.  State Impact Texas reported there are a number of reasons:

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Harvest Public Media story
8:00 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Doing More With Less Water

Tom Trout, a researcher at the U.S. Department of Agriculture who focuses on efficient and effective irrigation methods, checks sunflowers on a USDA research plot in Weld County, CO.
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Hear the audio version of Luke's story.

The future of agriculture across the Great Plains hinges on water. Without it, nothing can grow.

Climate models and population growth paint a pretty bleak picture for water availability a few decades from now. If farmers want to stay in business, they have to figure out how to do more with less. Enter: super efficient irrigation systems.

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Wind Energy
8:00 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Texas Wind Energy Production: West Texas Leads

Credit State Impact Texas

Texas leads the nation in wind energy production, and a lot of that wind power comes from the panhandle.  A recent article from State Impact Texas features a map showing annual wind energy production by county. 

If you’d like to see wind energy production around the world, The Wind Power, is a wind industry website that maintains a database of all wind farms. 

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10:54 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Changes in Health Care Plague Rural Hospitals

Lead in text: 
There are a number of factors making it hard for rural hospitals to make ends meet. Colorado Matters explores those issues, as well as the effects of sequestration and the Affordable Care Act. Listen to the podcast.
Rural hospitals in the state are struggling to keep their doors open. Many facilties haven’t rebounded from the Great Recession, and now they’re dealing with federal budget cuts under sequestration. CPR's Elaine Grant talks to Colorado Hospital Association CEO Steven Summer. He says though the association welcomes the federal health care overhaul, it could could make it even tougher for small rural hospitals to make ends meet.
Harvest Public Media story
5:51 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Can government help grow rural towns?

Main St., Mendota, IL
Credit wayne's eye view/Flickr

We don’t like you. You caused our problems. You don’t care about us. Help us.

That might be a bit of a crass interpretation, but it encapsulates what a chunk of rural voters seem to think of government and their elected officials.

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Livestock
8:00 pm
Sun August 18, 2013

It’s what’s for dinner, and it’s more expensive

Credit aspiringgentleman.com

The price of beef recently hit a record high according to KUT News, and it’s not just the drought driving prices up. 

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Healthcare
8:00 pm
Sun August 18, 2013

High Plains States: Obamacare Grant Recipients

Credit lerablog.org

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded a total of $67 million “navigator” grants to more than 100 organizations across the country recently reported the Kansas Health Institute.  “Navigators will be among the many resources available to help consumers understand their coverage options in the Marketplace,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius according to The Texas Tribune

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Harvest Public Media story
7:57 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Howard Buffett: Farmer of the world

Admitting he’s a boy who loves big toys, Howard Buffett stands on his John Deere tractor on his Arizona research farm.
Credit Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

Five years ago, Howard G. Buffett was at a meeting of an international food aid agency when he was told that feeding the millions of starving people in Africa was simple.

Just give them better seeds, someone said.

That advice might work on some philanthropists. But Buffett, son of billionaire Warren Buffett, happens to be an Illinois farmer.

“This guy was explaining to me how to farm and he’d never been on a farm in his life,” he said. “So it really kind of irritated me. I came home and said, ‘OK, I’m going to have data to show these guys.’”

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Harvest Public Media storyH
8:15 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Technology looks to prevent grain bin entrapments

Scott Haugan of HOWGAN SCC, in Marhsalltown, Iowa, has a classroom set up to teach new customers how his grain bin monitoring equipment and software work.
Credit Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

    Across the rural Midwest, landscapes are dotted with tall, cylindrical storage containers for grain. Some belong to commercial grain elevators, but increasingly farmers want to market their grain throughout the year so they install their own storage bins right on the farm. Maintaining the quality of that grain requires vigilance—and can present safety concerns. In particular, the risk of entrapment when a person enters a bin to check on the grain.

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Wind Energy
8:00 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Pantex: New Industry Financed Wind Farm Breaks Ground

Credit amarillo.com

Ground was broken on the largest federally owned wind farm in the nation on Tuesday at the Pantex Plant near Amarillo reported the Amarillo Globe-News.  Officials from the National Nuclear Security Administration, Texas Tech University, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency and contractor Siemens Government Technologies were present. 

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Harvest Public Media story
8:00 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

E85’s the cheapest gas, if you can find it and use it

At many gas stations on the Plains and across the Midwest, E85 is the cheapest fuel available. However, only a fraction of cars on the road can use it, and on E85 they get less mileage.
Credit Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Ilya Protopopov stopped at a U-Stop station in Lincoln, Neb., on his way to the track to fuel up his truck and a few dirt bikes. His fuel of choice, 91 octane unleaded, was selling for $4.01 per gallon.

“I used to complain about $1.50 gas, now it’s over $4,” Protopopov said. “Pretty steep.”

But on the same pump there was another fuel selling for under $3. E85 was going for $2.53.

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Livestock
8:00 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Drought Drying Up High Plains Feedyards

A prolonged drought in the southern Great Plains has hit ranchers hard and now is moving up the food chain. Western Kansas feedlot Beef Belt Feeders is among the latest casualties. Here, a 'for sale' sign was posted below the one for the feedlot in July.
Credit http://online.wsj.com/ / Wall Street Journal

  Crops aren’t the only things struggling to survive on the High Plains- area feedyards are too.  Yards are reducing the number of cattle, up for sale, and some are closed.  The Wall Street Journal provides a photo documentary.  

12:35 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

AQHA Ordered to Register Cloned Horses

Lead in text: 
Attorney Nancy Stone predicted the court would order the American Quarter Horse Association to register cloned horses. She was right.
U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson on Monday told attorneys she will order the American Quarter Horse Association to register cloned mares and stallion and their offspring.Last month, an Amarillo federal court jury found that the AQHA and one of its committees violated two sections of the Sherman Antitrust Act and Texas statutes by barring cloned horses from the organization's registry.
Harvest Public Media story
8:00 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Tyson suspends use of controversial cattle feeding drug

Credit oklahomafarmreport.com

Tyson Foods, Inc., announced last week that it will soon suspend purchases of cattle that had been treated with a controversial drug, citing animal welfare concerns.

But many in the industry wonder if the real reason is not about cattle, but rather the battle for sales in other countries, where using drugs for meat production is banned.

“I really do think this is more a marketing ploy from Tyson to raise some awareness so they can garner some export business from our overseas export partners,” said Dan Norcini, an independent commodities broker.

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Harvest Public Media Series
8:00 pm
Sun August 11, 2013

Soybean breakthroughs coming on strong

University of Missouri plant scientist Melissa Mitchum inspects a plant for soybean cyst nematode in her greenhouse.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Hear the audio version of this story.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts the nation’s farmers will deliver a record 3.42 billion bushels of soybeans this year. The USDA is also forecasting that this year for the first time Brazil will overtake the United States as the world’s leading producer of soybeans. That means the pressure is on American soybean farmers like Brian Flatt, 41, to eke out even more soybeans from his fields.

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