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

www2.dupont.com

If it seems like Congress just can’t get the farm bill done, well… that’s because it can’t. The massive food and agriculture package used to be relatively easy thanks to bipartisan and urban-rural alliances. But this year, progress was a slow slog. A nine-month extension passed in January bought some time. This summer, the Senate passed its bill, but the House didn’t. Then it sent two bills to the conference committee, one for agriculture and the other for food stamps. Just before Thanksgiving, Iowa Republican Steve King, a conference committee member, remained optimistic.

EPA prepares for an earful on Renewable Fuel Standard

Dec 11, 2013
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Both supporters and opponents of ethanol have had a lot to say since the EPA announced a proposal to cut the Renewable Fuel Standard, the rules that force oil companies to buy and use certain levels of ethanol. But they’re just warming up. The agency’s first hearing on the proposal is Thursday in Arlington, Va., and advocates from both sides will line up for a chance to give regulators a piece of their minds.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

For decades, housing developments in the suburbs have come complete with golf courses, tennis courts, strip malls and swimming pools. But make way for the new subdivision amenity: the specialty farm.

A new model for suburban development is springing up across the country that taps into the local food movement. Farms, complete with livestock, vegetables and fruit trees, are serving as a way to entice potential buyers to settle in a new subdivision.

Drones Used To Diagnose Diseased Wheat Fields

Dec 10, 2013
Kay Ledbetter / Texas A&M AgriLife Research

Dr. Charlie Rush is a plant pathologist at Texas A&M AgriLife Research in Amarillo.  He’s partnered with Ian Johnson, a Montana State University-Bozeman graduate student, who’s using his work in the university’s Science and Natural History Filmmaking Program to help conduct research using a helicopter drone according to AgriLife.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Colorado could be the next battleground state in the debate over labeling rules for genetically-modified foods. Activists are trying to get the issue in front of voters in 2014.

The Rules are Ready for Hemp Farming in Colorado

Dec 6, 2013
Hemp Industries Association

Colorado is getting ready for the legal sale of recreational marijuana the first of the year, and also preparing for the second part of Amendment 64— the legal growth and production of hemp. 

Christopher Guinn / Dodge City Daily Globe

Veterans in southwest Kansas won’t be driving to Fort Dodge for clinic appointments next year, they’ll be going to the Summerlon development in northeast Dodge City according to a recent article in the Dodge City Daily Globe

yoncatarim.com

The Southwest Research and Extension Center in Garden City, Kansas, completed a five year study on the impact of water application on alfalfa reported Mary Lou Peter for Farm Talk.

netexas.bucknerconnect.com

The percentage of children living in poverty has risen 47 percent since 2000 , despite an improving Texas economy reported the Texas Tribune.  

whyilovewesttexas.com

Drive across the high plains this time of year, and you see it-- pyramids of white, red, yellow that resemble a sandpainting.  Some area farmers, like Mitchell Baalman of Hoxie, Kansas, are putting their money on milo reported Dan Charles for NPR’s The Salt.

New Proposal Has Texas Power Companies Paying Twice

Dec 2, 2013
greatamericanthings.net

The Public Utility Commission of Texas is proposing a change in the running of the state’s electricity market according to State Impact Texas.

Power companies get paid when they produce electricity, but the new proposal adds a second payment for owning or building power plants.  The goal is to encourage the building of new power plants.  New plants would help avoid power shortages that have caused rolling blackouts.

Morland, Kansas Gets Its Grocery Store Back

Dec 1, 2013
getruralkansas.org

The grocery store in Morland, Kansas, reopened November 2 according to the Wichita Eagle.  

Canned pumpkins aren’t grown for their looks.

Nov 27, 2013

This Thanksgiving, hungry families all over the country will finish off their holiday meal with a little slice of the Midwest. That’s because the vast majority of all pumpkin that comes from a can and winds up in a pie got its start on a vine in Illinois.

Pumpkin patches are popular destinations for families seeking fall fun and you’ll find roadside farm stands all over the country. But pumpkins are big business in Illinois, where farmers feed canning factories hungry for a special kind of pumpkin that looks nothing like those you see on Halloween.

Why Are Things Different for Rural Businesses?

Nov 24, 2013
myruraltv.com

Running a business in a rural setting is a horse of a different color said a recent article in Dodge City Daily Globe. Rural businesses have different circumstances than in urban areas, said Wendy Veatch, the director of outreach programming at Wichita State University's Center of Entrepreneurship.

Meet the Wildcatters Behind the National Fracking Boom

Nov 22, 2013
cpr.org

Fracking has revolutionized the oil and gas industry.  It has shifted the position of the Untied States from being energy dependent on other countries to becoming energy independent according to Gregory Zuckerman of the Wall Street Journal.  Zuckerman’s new book, “The Frackers, The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters,” introduces readers to the men behind the new technology. 

kuhf.org

The Texas oil and gas boom is bringing in the money, but it’s also bringing in the scammers.  KUHF News reported the person running the company gathering investors might be a felon, and that's okay with the State of Texas.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

Farmers and scientists have long understood that what lives beneath the soil affects how crops grow. Often, they work to fight plant diseases—warding off infectious viruses and damaging fungi, for example. But now some microbiologists are focused on how to harness the good things microbes can do, with the goal of increasing farmers’ yields and diminishing their dependence on chemical inputs.

David Bowser / texastribune.org

Farming is a man’s world.  Despite that, the U.S. 2007 census shows women are a growing presence in agriculture, up 30% from 2002 to 2007.   Out of the 247,000 farms in Texas, 35,000 have principal operators who are women according to recent article in the Texas Tribune.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

Once again, the prognosticators are saying beef prices are on the rise. We’ve seen this before—last year, the drought and high feed prices were being blamed. This time, the supply is tight and with livestock farmers looking at lower costs of production, some may keep animals on the farm to help increase their herds, rather than sending them to market. Since consumer demand typically goes up at this time of year, Lee Schulz, a livestock economist at Iowa State University, said the combination will increase the price meatpackers pay to producers.

Clay Masters for Harvest Public Media

Organic food is a hot market in the U.S. The Organic Trade Association says that sales over the last five years have grown 35 percent. But there’s a problem in the supply chain – not enough organic grain.

Many producers in the farm belt aren’t willing to take on organic production despite a hefty price premium. That has left organic food companies scrambling to find enough raw ingredients for the products that hit grocery store shelves. Just as corn and soybeans dominate conventional processed food and meat, these same grains are often key ingredients for organic foods.

Cargill Will Include Beef Binder in Label

Nov 10, 2013
thedailygreen.com

Cargill recently announced that it will begin labeling packages of ground beef containing what is colloquially known as pink slime according to The New York Times.  

Creative Commons

Joel Salatin is one of the rock stars of the local food movement. He’s written books, appeared in documentaries and scheduled speaking engagements nationwide. Among foodies, he’s a celebrity.

He’s also a vocal critic of industrialized agriculture. Salatin criticizes the use of pesticides, herbicides, genetic modification in crops, and hormones and antibiotics in livestock.

Kansas: Cold Weather Rule in Effect

Nov 5, 2013
hutchpost.com

  November 1 is the day the Cold Weather Rule goes into effect for Kansans.  The Kansas Corporation Commission created the policy to prevents electricity and gas companies from discontinuing service to those who fall behind on winter utility bills according to The Wichita Eagle

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

Hot-button food issues of the day, such as the use of genetically modified organisms or the treatment of livestock, tend to pit large industries against smaller activist groups. Often, both sides will claim the science supports what they are saying. That can leave consumers, most of whom aren’t scientists, in a bit of a bind.

SWA Group

As 485 miles of Keystone XL pipeline lies dry in Texas, lawmakers are proposing legislation that would expedite the process of approving cross-national pipelines like the Keystone XL.

Cloned in Canadian: First Quarter Horses and Now Deer

Oct 31, 2013
amarillo.com

This time of the year, most deer hunters are focused on where to find the big one, not Canadian rancher Jason Abraham.  Abraham and his partner, Gregg Veneklasen, a Canyon veterinarian, are busy cloning their trophies.

Much of the world is turning hotter and dryer these days, and it's opening new doors for a water-saving cereal that's been called "the camel of crops": sorghum. In an odd twist, this old-fashioned crop even seems to be catching on among consumers who are looking for "ancient grains" that have been relatively untouched by modern agriculture.

Sorghum isn't nearly as famous as the big three of global agriculture: corn, rice and wheat. But maybe it should be. It's a plant for tough times, and tough places.

Southwest Kansas Groundwater Management District

State officials and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are re-evaluating a seminal 1982 federal water supply study that proposed transporting billions of gallons annually from the Missouri River to farms 375 miles away stated a recent article in Circle of Blue.  

PJMixer / flickr commons

The rolling plains of Midwest farm country are being tapped for their natural resources again. This time, though, the bounty would be wind energy, instead of corn, wheat or soybeans.

Houston-based utility company Clean Line Energy Partners wants to produce a massive amount of wind energy on the plains. To do that, the company plans to build five large-scale high voltage transmission lines that would criss-cross the country, three of which would bring energy from Midwestern windmills to the energy grid to the east.

News21 – National/Flickr

The Colorado farmers who distributed cantaloupes infected with listeria two years ago pleaded guilty in federal court to criminal charges Tuesday. Jensen Farms, located outside Holly, Colo., was the source of the outbreak that killed 33 people nationwide.

The outbreak was the deadliest in more than 20 years. Cantaloupes processed in the summer of 2011 at Jensen Farms near the Kansas border were laden with Listeria. It’s a pathogen infamous for its high mortality rate.

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