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

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.

Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

The growth of the dairy industry across the High Plains has been a boon to the economy and communities of the region.  Urbanization and increasing regulation in states such as California are often cited as the reason for the migration of large dairies to our area.  But there’s also on overall industry consolidation underway that’s driving out small producers from nearby states, including dairyman Donnie Davidson and others in Missouri, as profiled in this story from Harvest Public Media.

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Donnie Davidson’s family has been producing bottled milk in Holden, Mo., since the 1930s. But the 63-year-old farmer decided to sell his herd of 50 milking cows in November after the roof on one of his barns collapsed from last winter’s snow.

Ben Hasson / Texas Tribune

50% of households in Texas are "liquid-asset poor," or lack the savings to pay for three months of basic expenses, according to a report released last week by a non-profit that seeks to alleviate poverty.

Travel Aficionado / Flickr

On December 31, the federal production tax credit for renewable energy expired. In Oklahoma, this stimulated 12,300 megawatts of wind projects to begin construction ahead of the deadline.

propane.pro

The cost of propane is breaking records.  The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) lists the current average price nationwide at just over four dollars per gallon.  That’s more than a dollar higher than last week said a recent article in StateImpact Oklahoma.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Colorado made history when it opened up licensed marijuana retail shops this year. Aside from just legalizing the purchase of smoke-able marijuana, it also means pot brownies have the potential to be big business. Food products infused with marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, THC, are available in stores across the state.

Matthew Starver / nytimes.com

The National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado, has been a diamond in the crown of cowboy life for over 100 years.  It also is a reflection of the way life is changing at home on the range.  

amarillo.com

The United Supermarket location on South Soncy Road will bring about 250 new jobs to Amarillo according to the Amarillo Globe-News.  The supermarket will be hosting a job fair from Jan. 27 through Feb. 7 at Redeemer Christian Church located at 3701 South Soncy Road.

Global bumper wheat crop brings lower prices

Jan 19, 2014
jayneadd/Flickr

Talk to any corn farmer and he or she will likely lament the dropping price of corn. But corn growers are not alone. Farmers who grow wheat are beginning to feel the same pinch.

oklahomafarmreport.com

Oklahoma ranks number five in the nation when it comes to the number of cattle, but years of drought and high market prices are fueling a sell-off, and experts worry that the $4.5 billion dollar industry is in a downward spiral that will be difficult to recover from according to an article from StateImpact Oklahoma.

Jason Baker / Texas A&M AgriLife Research photo

While timely rains have the Texas wheat crop looking much better this year, however the drought and cold may have done some damage to winter crops reported AgriLife Today.

Retailers look to sell sustainability of food

Jan 17, 2014
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Consumers are increasingly willing to pay more for foods they believe were sustainably produced, like free-range chicken, fair-trade coffee and pesticide-free wine. But what does “sustainable” actually mean?

Kevin Welch / amarillo.com

Google recently announced it will be purchasing even more wind power from the Texas Panhandle.  The company’s goal is to be powered 100% by renewable energy.  Inline with that goal, the company invested $75 million  in the Panhandle 2 wind farm located outside Amarillo according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

thecommonvision.org

Colorado is the first jurisdiction anywhere in the world to have a legal, regulated marked for recreational marijuana.  20 other states, and Washington, DC, allow the use of medical marijuana, but how does Colorado’s marijuana market function?  The Economist explains:

Monsanto.com

New herbicide-resistant corn and soybeans are a step closer to reaching farm fields in the U.S. They would help farmers control weeds that are no longer killed by the popular herbicide, Roundup.

Roundup resistant crops dominate corn, soybean and cotton production in the U.S. But the list of weeds that have evolved to withstand Roundup is growing, and as a result, farmers are using more chemicals to keep up.

MOSE BUCHELE / StateImpact Texas

The Railroad Commission of Texas recently met.  Commissioner David Porter announced the search for a staff seismologist in response to the rash of small earthquakes that have sprung up throughout the state along with the boom in oil and gas production reported Mose Buchele for StateImpact Texas.  

forefugees.com

The exclusion of Planned Parenthood has left gaps in health care for women, especially low-income women.  Republican leaders pressured Texas state health officials to begin enforcing a provision to keep out Planned Parenthood, as well as any clinic, with organizational ties to abortion providers from the Women’s Health Program in 2011.  The program provides cancer screening, well-woman exams and contraception for low-income women.  

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

For the first time in nearly 10 years, the nation’s beef herd may be poised for growth, which could mean relief from rising meat prices. But with the fewest cattle in the beef supply since the 1960s, slow growth won’t cut prices anytime soon.

visitamarillotx.com

The Wright Amendment expired in October, meaning that Southwest Airlines doesn’t have to make stops in cities like Amarillo.  The airline can fly non-stop from destinations to hubs anywhere in the United States.

JOE WERTZ / STATEIMPACT OKLAHOMA

From the corners of Oklahoma, across the border into Texas; to the nation’s capital and even the U.S. Supreme Court, StateImpact Oklahoma team traveled about 10,000 miles in 2013, talking with Oklahomans about government policy and how it’s affecting their lives. 

Stephen Spillman / The Texas Tribune

The only livestock Mike Skinner has these days are birds in a cage.  Skinner sold the family farm last spring.  Land he was once farmed, as did his brother, his parents, and his grandparents reported the Texas Tribune

Iowa Public Television

If it seems like Congress just can’t get the farm bill done, well… that’s because it can’t.

All year long, Washington lawmakers have been saying they want to pass a full five-year farm bill. But even though leaders of the House-Senate conference committee say they are close, they have acknowledged it just won’t get done this year. They’re pushing it off until January.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

A new wheat variety may have cracked the code to marry the fluffiness of white bread with whole grain nutrition.

For a long time, American bread makers have been in a bind. Many consumers like the texture and taste of white bread, but want the nutritional benefits of whole grains.

KERA

While the individual mandate requires ever American to have health insurance, there is a big exception to the Affordable Care Act that more and more people are taking advantage of.

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