HPPR Economy and Enterprise

crop production
crop irrigation
livestock production
dairy production
research & development

oil & gas production
wind energy
biofuels production
food processing

Transportation & telecommunications
rail service
air service
internet service

Economic indicators & conditions:
workforce demographics
employment rates
land values
tax collections

small business development
technology application

Michael Schumacher / amarillo.com

Town Square Village is a four-square-mile piece of southwest Amarillo with a vision of being more than another development.  The multimillion-dollar expansion will be an “urban landscape where apartment dwellers live above stores and restaurants in a pedestrian-friendly community core surrounded by row houses and suburbs of single-family homes,” according to a recent article in the Amarillo Globe-News

Ann Johansson / nytimes.com

The taste of vegetarian meat substitute is improving.  It’s so good, in fact, that consumers couldn’t tell if they were eating meat substitute or chicken in a salad product from Whole Foods.  The labels on the products were inadvertently switched.  Whole Foods had to recall the item not because of consumer complaints, but federal labeling requirements.  Consumers eating the plant protein substitute were inadvertently exposed to soy and eggs, which are allergens requiring labeling according to a recent article in the New York Times.

RJ Sangosti / denverpost.com

The Kiowa County oil and gas boom has tanked, and now the small community of Eads is putting its economic development bets on casino gambling according to a recent article from the Denver Post


Consolidated Nuclear Security is the new Pantex Plant Contractor according to a recent article in the Amarillo Globe-News.  The Government Accountability Office rejected the third contract protest by a representative of Babcock and Wilcox Co. who currently operate the Carson County nuclear weapons plant.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Nebraska hog farmers aren’t seeing eye-to-eye on a proposal that would allow meatpacking companies more control over the state’s hog industry. And farmers all over the country are watching.

Currently, a 1998 state law bans meatpacking companies from owning and raising the hogs they process. But lawmakers have proposed an end to the ban, which would allow for more vertical integration of the hog industry.


Farmers across the high plains are faced with planting choices every year.  This year Texas farmers are wondering if corn, cotton, or sorghum will make the most money according to StateImpact Texas


Pattern Energy is moving components from Hutchinson and Abilene, Kansas, as well as Iowa, to the Texas Panhandle.  Sections of towers that hold the large blades in the air and the narcelles that hold the equipment that makes electricity from the turning blades are transported by trucks pulling specially built trailers.  The components are headed for two projects located north of Amarillo.


There’s work in western Kansas.  The region hasn’t seen a decline like the rest of the country said a recent article in RFD-TV Magazine

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

When Colorado cantaloupe laden with the deadly pathogen listeria killed more than 30 people in 2011, shockwaves rippled throughout the food industry. The outbreak made one thing clear: huge cracks exist in the systems meant to keep our food safe to eat. Denver Post reporters Michael Booth and Jennifer Brown set out to explore those conflicts within food safety in their new book Eating Dangerously.

Drones: Coming soon to a farm near you?

Mar 24, 2014
Peter Gray/Harvest Public Media

Unmanned aerial vehicles aren’t just for spies or for the battlefield. Farmers all over the country think drones can give them a leg up, too.

Tech-savvy farmers have been waiting for years for the government to make up its mind about the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Right now, anyone flying a drone for business instead of as a hobby is actually breaking federal law. But the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which oversees U.S. airspace, says it plans to roll out rules for drones this year.


The water level is down, and so are the number of people visiting Lake Meredith and the associated Alibates Flint Quarries.  However, the sites are still impacting the area’s economy in a positive manner said a recent article in the Amarillo News-Globe.


Two energy companies are partnering to build the largest community solar array in Kansas.  Community-owned Midwest Energy and community solar developer Clean Energy Collective (CEC) signed an agreement to build a 1-MW community solar photovoltaic array according to a recent article in Utility Products.


Texas is one of four finalists trying to reel in Tesla Motors from California.  However, the state will not allow the company to sell its upscale electric cars directly to consumers because of long-standing state laws protecting and regulating auto dealerships according to the Texas Tribune.

Barb Blevins / High Plains Public Radio

We'll continue our visit to Beaver Creek Ranch with a look at Full Circle Aquaponics, a re-circulating system combining aquaculture (fish) and hydroponics (plants).  We'll start our tour in a  low-energy footprint greenhouse designed by Alice Hill and take a look at how tilapia fish and a variety of greens and lettuces support each other.

Peter Gray/Harvest Public Media

Bacon-loving shoppers prepare yourselves: A virus that has devastated piglets for nearly a year is causing lower pork supplies and higher prices.


The Bell Amarillo plant is beginning to assemble roofs, floors, nose and tail sections of the Relentless 525—a new civilian helicopter said a recent article in the Amarillo Globe-News.


Panhandle farmers did well this year in the National Sorghum Producers competition reported Kevin Welch for the Amarillo Globe-News.


Amarillo ranks the 14th best city to start a business said a recent article in the Amarillo Globe-News.  

Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Many of the food terrorism scenarios outlined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration involve liquid.

And there’s good reason for that.

Kay Ledbetter / Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Over 300 participants attended the High Plains Dairy Conference in Lubbock, Texas.  Most of them were from Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado according to a University News release.

Phil Cauthon / Kansas Health Institute

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment approved the expansion of Seaboard Farms’ Ladder Creek hog farm according to a recent article from the Kansas Health Institute.

Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media

It sounds like the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster. Villains in trench coats scheme ways to cause the most destruction and chaos. They settle on a food company, an easy target, and plan to lace the products with a chemical or pathogen. The hero finds out the plan with enough time to save the day.

Barb Blevins / High Plains Public Radio

This week we begin a four-part series about the importance of expanding local food production and teaching people to learn to feed themselves whenever possible.  We'll start by visiting Beaver Creek Ranch in Rawlins County, Kansas.  This agritourism business operated by Jeff and Alice Hill includes a hunting lodge, a full-service family farm complete with fruit and vegetable gardens, poultry, beef and pork production, organic hard red winter wheat production, and a demonstration site for a system called Full Circle Aquaponics.  The day I arrived the place was really humming, thanks to the bee hives that provide pollination and honey.  Join us as we visit a fascinating place.


Texas is the nation’s top energy producer.  It could also be the leader in slashing emissions of methane.  But it’s unlikely that state environmental regulators will embrace the opportunity according to a recent article from the Texas Tribune.  


A new study by the University of Texas at San Antonio found that placing wind turbines too closely together in a wind farm causes turbulence that reduces productivity according to a recent article by StateImpact Texas.  


Tri Global Energy and BNSF Railway have joined forces to create a clearinghouse for wind energy equipment east of Plainview, Texas according to The Amarillo Globe-News

FILIPA RODRIGUES / StateImpact Texas

A growing population and inadequate electricity supply has kept a looming energy crisis over Texans.  Rolling blackouts would come, or so it was predicted.  This month, a report from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) release its annual forecast of how much electricity Texas will have in the coming years, and thing don’t look so bad according to StateImpact Texas.

Michael Stravato / nytimes.com

Small, abandoned refineries dot the High Plains, but the domestic oil boom of domestic light-crude is breathing new life into some of them said a recent article in the New York Times.  


A cloning project at West Texas A&M University is poised to enter the next phase of creating cattle that will produce top quality beef recently reported the Amarillo Globe-News.


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.