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

Ethanol spills on the rise in the Midwest

Dec 13, 2016
Darrell Hoemann / The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

An ethanol spill occurs every two days on average in the Midwest, the worst of which result in contamination of water supplies, major fish kills, loss of life and millions of dollars of damage.

CNBC

Oklahoma oil billionaire and fervent Trump supporter Harold Hamm is tempering some of his optimism about the prospect of an oil boom under Trump.

In a speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last summer, Hamm predicted that U.S. oil production would double under Trump, creating thousands of new jobs. In the wake of OPEC’s decision to cut production, Hamm said on Thursday that he believed U.S. fracking operations could double output if they went “flat out.”

Royal Broil / Creative Commons

A new report from the Census Bureau is shining a light on America’s rural-urban divide, the focus of much discussion and attention since the election of Donald Trump.

As US News and World Report notes, the new study offers a numbers-driven, county-level glimpse into the disparity between city and countryside.

Colorado facing tidal wave of senior citizens

Dec 13, 2016
Colorado Department of Local Affairs

To get ahead of Colorado’s aging population, the state of Colorado just released an action plan that lays out a vision for handling the state’s graying demographic through 2030.

Pipeline in West Texas draws a protest of its own

Dec 13, 2016
Forest Guardians / Wikimedia Commons

There’s another pipeline protest and this one is not in North Dakota. It’s in Texas.

Creative Commons

Oil prices will likely continue to rise following a meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC oil producing countries Saturday.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Truckers and those involved in autonomous vehicle technology disagree on how long it will be before driverless trucks will make their way to U.S. roadways.

Russ Baldwin / The Prowers Journal

The city of Lamar is receiving $1.3 million from a portion of Colorado lottery proceeds from Great Outdoors Colorado to invest in local parks and trails with an eye toward getting youth outdoors.

energy.gov

Google announced last week that in 2017, renewable energy will power 100 percent of its global operations, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s blog, Into the Wind.

The Wichita Eagle

Kansas has traditionally had a lower unemployment rate than the nation at large. But that looks to be changing next year, if analyst predictions hold true.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, the latest numbers have Kansas at 4.4 percent unemployment, slightly lower than the national average. But the U.S unemployment rate just dropped once again, to 4.6 percent. Meanwhile, experts expect the Kansas unemployment rate to rise to about 4.7 percent in 2018 based on current data.

Gett/Motley Fool

The market for agriculture drones looks to be far bigger than many analysts suspected, according to a new report by The Motley Fool.

In fact, the addressable market for drones performing agricultural work could be as high as $33 billion.*

Following last week’s move by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), crude oil prices rose above the $55 per barrel mark Monday, hitting a 16-month high, Reuters reports.

Eric Gregory / Journal Star

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2016 Farm numbers were released last week. As Farm Futures reports, farm income for 2016 is forecast to drop by almost 15% from last year’s levels. This is the third straight year net cash farm income has dropped. Most of the income decrease can be attributed to a drop in income from livestock and animal products.  

Mike Wilson / Farm Futures

The death of Fidel Castro this week sent south Florida into a tizzy and upended Cuban diplomatic relations with the incoming Trump administration.But on the High Plains, the demise of the island nation’s Communist leader is having a different effect.

In the wake of the Obama administration’s loosening of the U.S. trade embargo with the country, many High Plains ag producers found the new Cuban market to be an export boon.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Things are looking up in the heartland.

A new USDA study reports that some of the employment and population declines that have plagued rural America in past year have recently turned a corner.

AFP/Getty Images

This week saw good news for High Plains oil producers, and bad news for consumers at the gas pump.

As Fortune reports, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed Wednesday to curb its output by some 1.2 million barrels a day.

news9.com

Oklahoma’s poverty rate remains above the national average.

As News 9 reports, more than 600,000 Oklahomans are living in poverty, according to the latest numbers out from the U.S. Census Bureau. That works out to one out of every five residents in the state.

The state’s poverty rate has held steady since the Great Recession of 2008. Almost half of Oklahomans who live in poverty have jobs. And three out of four have a family to feed.

Bloomberg News

The Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries, otherwise known as OPEC, will meet this week to determine whether the group will curb production. High Plains oil producers are watching anxiously, in hopes OPEC will ramp down production.

Such a move would likely send worldwide oil prices higher and increase profits on the High Plains—while also raising gas prices for consumers.

energy.gov

A Microsoft data center’s electricity will be powered by a wind farm being constructed in western Kansas.

AP photo

The Hutchinson News has published a different kind of Christmas list. This one comes from a farmer in Stanton County, Kansas, and it wasn’t written to Santa Claus. Instead, it’s addressed to Donald Trump.

Here are some of the requests of farmer Jim Sipes.

First, he wants the Trans-Pacific Partnership to pass. Sipes says the TPP would be “very good for nearly all aspects of U.S. agriculture.”

cfra.org

The Center for Rural Affairs warns cutting income tax rates could potentially break Nebraska’s economy in the middle of its slow-but-steady recovery.

As senior policy associate Brian Hansen writes, “those in Nebraska pushing for income tax cuts promise that doing so brings economic and job growth, but Kansas’ results make those promises ring hollow.”

Reuters/NBC News

Black Friday may soon be a thing of the past on the High Plains, as in the rest of the country.

As NBC News reports, Black Friday is slowly being replaced by what many retailers are referring to as “Black November.” And some of the deals that consumers have come to expect on Friday are already available. For example, Amazon launched its Black Friday store last Tuesday.

Food Network

The cost of a Thanksgiving meal for the average American has lowered to below five dollars a person this year, according to the American Farm Bureau.

The group traditionally does an informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table. This year their study concluded that a feast for 10 this year will cost $49.87, or just under five bucks per belly. The cost is down by almost 25 cents since last year.

Lisa Krantz / San Antonio Express News

Texas employers added almost 14,000 jobs last month, according to the latest report from the Texas Workforce Commission.

Over the past year, the Lone Star State has added almost 210,000 jobs to its job-rolls, reinforcing the resiliency of the Texas economy.

Low gas prices expected to spur Thanksgiving travel

Nov 22, 2016
AAA

There is good news at the pump for people of the High Plains planning to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas ranked first, fourth and fifth for least expensive gas prices in the nation Monday, according to AAA.

Andy Sacks / Getty Images/MSNBC

Donald Trump won almost every farm state in this year’s presidential election. The electoral map is a wide swath of red, stretching from the Carolinas through much of the Midwest and into the Plains.

And, now that their man has won, farm groups say they’re hoping to change the president-elect’s mind about the economic importance of agricultural exports.

The U.S. Geological Survey says a deposit in West Texas is the largest continuous oil and gas deposit ever discovered in the United States.

On Tuesday, the USGS announced that an area known as the Wolfcamp shale contains 20 billion barrels of oil and 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

That is nearly three times more petroleum than the agency found in North Dakota's Bakken shale in 2013.

Forbes.com

Employers across the country are having trouble filling jobs, according to a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts. These days it takes about 28 workdays to fill the average job vacancy. Ten years ago, jobs were filled an average of four days faster.

AP photo/The Oklahoman

There are very few corners of America’s oil and gas industry that are abuzz with prospects for a bright future these days.

But one of them is the niche market for dirty-water disposal in Oklahoma.

The market is worth about $3 billion, and as Bloomberg reports, Brian Kalt thinks he has it cornered.

Oklahoma Farm Report

Last week, Oklahoma’s controversial “Right to Farm” bill was defeated by voters. The state’s farmers and ranchers are now wondering what the short- and long-term effects of the bill’s rejection will be.

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