HPPR Economy and Enterprise

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

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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Natural Resources & Energy
8:01 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

High Plains States among Top in Wind Production

Wind turbines near Woodward, Okla.
Credit Logan Layden/StateImpact Oklahoma

Texas remains on top of the nation in total wind energy produced in 2012, while Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado are not far behind, according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Additions to each state's wind generation capacity last year are keeping the four plains states in the top ten of wind energy producers, as indicated by the DOE's Wind Technologies Market Report.

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Health
8:01 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Grant Funding Seeks to Get Rural Kansas Access to Dental Services

Dutch Finn, 8, and his mom, Shelby Longren, wait in line for dental treatment at the Manhattan National Guard Armory, Kansas Mission of Mercy Dental Clinic.
Credit Ann Williamson/Kansas Health Institute

A $100,000 grant is being awarded to a Kansas organization to study potential solutions to bring dental care closer to home for thousands of rural Kansans.

DentaQuest Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the major national dental insurance company, awarded Oral Health Kansas the grant, reports Kansas Health Institute.

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Harvest Public Media story
8:00 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

How secure is the Fort Knox of seeds?

Dave Dierig, research leader at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation, stands among the ceiling-high shelves that hold the 600,000 seed packets in this cold storage vault.
Grace Hood/KUNC

When unapproved genetically modified wheat was found growing in Oregon earlier this year, it didn’t take long for accusations about how it ended up there to start flying. A flurry of initial finger-pointing cast potential blame on a federal seed vault in Fort Collins, Colo., which housed the same strain of wheat, developed by Monsanto Corp., for about seven years up until late 2011.

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10:47 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Colorado Insurance Marketplace Enrolling Uninsured

Lead in text: 
While many other states refrain from getting into the health insurance business, Colorado is pressing on with efforts to educate the uninsured public about the state-run health insurance marketplace. Connect for Health Colorado is Colorado's answer to the Affordable Care Act, key provisions of which go into effect at the end of this year.
The market’s employees are traveling the state to explain how it will work, often in electric yellow T-shirts with the message, “Got Insurance?” In the coming weeks, 400 guides will be trained to help the uninsured sign up for coverage, with some targeting groups like Hispanics, gay and lesbian citizens, and even truckers.
Healthcare
8:00 pm
Sun August 4, 2013

Kansas: Breaking Health Down by the Numbers

Credit Colourbox

The Kansas Health Institute put together a view of the state of the state’s health by the numbers.  

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Oil & Gas
8:00 pm
Sun August 4, 2013

Domestic Oil and Gas Production is Booming: Why Are Gas Prices Still High?

Credit Indiana Public Media

It doesn’t make sense, does it?  Domestic oil and gas production is booming, and yet prices are still pretty high.  Dr. Tec Patzek, Chairman of the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, said there are many reasons in an article by State Impact Texas.   

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Healthcare
8:00 pm
Sun August 4, 2013

Help to Understanding the Affordable Care Act

Credit Summacare

Whatever term you give it, the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, enrollment begins October 1 with coverage effective January 1.  To help negotiate the healthcare maze, the Kansas Health Institute reported there’s help: a nationwide interactive map and town hall meetings across Kansas.   

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Harvest Public Media story
8:01 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Entrepreneurship the real crop of this urban farm

Gabe Diaz, 14, waters flats of seedlings under the watchful eye of farm manager Joshua Anderson.
Credit Beth Lipoff/KCUR

When you grow up in the city, chickens aren’t something you see every day. But 13-year-old Malek Looney is getting to know them well.

"They’ll flap their wings and make loud noises and squawk at you. And you’ll be like, 'Oh no, they're mad at something,'" said Looney, taking a break from watering crops on a recent sunny morning.

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Oil & Gas
8:01 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Is Fracking Stealing From Your Neighbors?

Fracking diagram
Credit texastribune.org

Fracking has become an industry standard, allowing access to stores of oil and gas that previously were inaccessible.  However, a State Impact Texas story poses the question,”Is fracking stealing from your neighbors?”

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Cloning
8:01 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Jury Says the American Quarter Horse Association Cannot Make Its Own Rules

Credit AQHA

A federal jury of seven men and five women decided that the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) violates state and federal antitrust laws by barring cloned horses from it’s registry according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

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Harvest Public Media story
8:01 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Western Kansas confronts the challenges of a dwindling water supply

Western Kansas farmers like Jesse Garetson depend on underground water pumped from the High Plains Aquifer.
Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

Imagine enough water to fill a couple of great lakes, but spread under some of the driest parts of eight western states. That was the High Plains Aquifer 60 years ago, before new pumping and irrigation systems made it easy for farmers to extract billions of gallons from it and use it to grow lucrative crops on the arid land.

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Harvest Public Media story
6:45 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Can Planned Grazing Revive Grassland Soil?

William Burnidge, left, an ecologist with the Nature Conservancy, is working with rancher Nathan Andrews to test out a different method of grazing.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

The world’s soil is in trouble. Ecologists say without dramatic changes to how we manage land, vast swathes of grassland are at risk of turning into hard-packed desert. To make sure that doesn’t happen, researchers are testing out innovative ways to keep moisture in the soil.

In eastern Colorado, one way could be in the plodding hooves of cattle.

Conventional wisdom tells you, if ranchland ground has less grass, the problem is too many cows. But that’s not always the case. It depends on how you manage them, if you make sure they keep moving.

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
9:00 pm
Sun July 28, 2013

Busy Bee Farms Part Three: A legacy for the future

Ready to leave the greenhouse.
Credit Skip Mancini

Our final trip to Busy Bee Farms includes some advice from the experts on how to choose and use a great tasting tomato.  Differences between tomatoes that are shipped long distances and the greenhouse or homegrown varieties are explored, as well as tips on storing colorful heirloom tomatoes.  Susan also sums up the family's belief in the true rewards of hard work.     

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Healthcare
8:01 pm
Sun July 28, 2013

Next up for KanCare: Health Home Model for Mentally Ill

KanCare is the commercially run managed care version of the Kansas Medicaid program.  The next step in program implementation according to the Kansas Health Institute is to begin a health home model for the state’s 36,000 mentally ill.

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Plains states do well
6:28 pm
Sun July 28, 2013

Location matters in climbing the income ladder

Credit Jonathan Goforth / flickr commons

The plains states rank well generally for income mobility according to a new study considered to be the most comprehensive yet on the subject.  Based on millions of anonymous income records, the study by leading economists found four primary factors correlated with higher income mobility in an area: a larger and more dispersed local middle class, more two-parent households, better elementary schools and high schools, and more civic engagement, including membership in religious and community groups.

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HPPR Economy and Enterprise
6:35 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Estate taxes can complicate farm transitions

Farmers have to negotiate complicated estate tax laws in order to keep family farms in the family.
Credit Kansas Poetry (Patrick) / Flickr

Welsh-born immigrant William R. Charles in 1868 fought an uphill battle with Indians and grasshoppers when he homesteaded 400 acres of well watered crop and timberland in Republic County, Kan., that his great-grandchildren farm today. The family’s first log cabin burned to the ground in December, 1869 and they dug through two feet of frozen dirt to find shelter.

Today, Charles’ grandchildren, great-grandchildren and their children are far flung from that homestead, Valley Point Farm, 240 miles northwest of Kansas City.

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Oil & Gas
8:01 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

NW Kansas: Oil Pipeline Construction Begins in August

Credit econintersect.com

An pipeline transporting oil from the Bakken production area of North Dakota and Eastern Montana to Cushing, Oklahoma cuts across Kansas.  A recent article in the Salina Journal said the purpose of the project is to transport domestic oil to domestic refineries. 

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Wind Energy
8:01 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Wind Energy: Hereford Wind Farm Phase One Sold; Transmission Line Expansion in Oklahoma and Kansas

Hereford Wind Project, Hereford, Texas
Credit http://renews.biz/

EDF Renewable Energy agreed to buy the 200MW first phase of the Hereford Wind Project according to a recent ReNews article.  The purchase includes an option on the 300MW second phase. 

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Demographics
8:01 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Immigration Destination: Garden City, Kansas Over L.A.?

Garden City, Kansas Welcome Sign
Credit wikimedia.org

Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, New York, and Miami are no longer the immigration points for Hispanics and Latinos coming to the United States.  Kansas State University recently reported new patterns have developed.  Matthew Sanderson, associate professor of sociology at Kansas State University, is studying why rural areas, particularly southwest Kansas, have experienced large increases in Hispanic immigration. 

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Natural Resources & Energy
8:01 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

In Texas, Oil Prospecting Could Be as Simple as Looking at the Ground

In Utah, sandstone researchers say is bleached from red to white by hydrocarbon microseepages.
Credit University of Houston

Texas crude may not be oozing to the surface, but scientists think they can find oil and gas deposits just by looking at dirt.

Scientists at the University of Houston are finding ways to use sophisticated analysis of satellite imagery to detect miniscule changes to the Earth' surface caused by mineral deposits below, StateImpact Texas reports.

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Texas Panhandle
8:01 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Downtown Amarillo: New Development Project Takes Form This Fall

Downtown Amarillo Skyline
Credit www.city-data.com

Three jewels, totaling $113 million, will be added to the crown of downtown Amarillo. They are: a $69.3 million convention center hotel, $30.3 million multi-purpose event venue, and $13.4 million parking garage.  The Amarillo Globe-News reported they will be constructed in the vicinity of City Hall and the Amarillo Civic Center.

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Harvest Public Media story
6:12 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

A food fight over U.S. sugar program

Billboard promoting the beet sugar industry outside of the Great Western Sugar factory in Ovid, CO (1967)
Credit Colorado State University Libraries Archives and Special Collections

Sugar beet growing and refining was once a major industry in western Kansas and remains so in northeastern Colorado, southeastern Wyoming and western Nebraska.  But it’s an industry that’s been supported by government subsidies of one sort or another dating back to 1789.  This pits sugar users against sugar producers over whether preserving a U.S. industry and domestic jobs is worth paying twice the international market price for sugar.  Harvest Public Media has an update on the ongoing debate. 

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Harvest Public Media story
8:01 pm
Sun July 21, 2013

Metal thefts plague farm country

Mike Obermann was among the victims of a rash of metal thefts in rural Missouri. Since then, he has installed theft-protection measures on his farm.
Credit Payne Roberts/Harvest Public Media

In the countryside, there are fewer people – and some prefer it that way, especially thieves. The National Insurance Crime Bureau says that metal thefts have increased by 36 percent since 2010 – and that leaves farm equipment and machinery as easy pickings.

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Harvest Public Media field note
8:01 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Want to invest in farmland? Join the crowd

Charles Polanco's company allows investors to team up and invest in farmland.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

The new company Fquare is bringing crowd-sourcing to the increasingly lucrative market of investing in farmland.

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Oil & Gas
8:01 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

It's About Oil: Pipelines and Spills

Credit flickr.com/photos/shannonpatrick17/

North Dakota has the most reported oil spills of any state.  Oklahoma ranks number two, but that may be a gross understatement.  State Impact Oklahoma says spill reporting requirements vary from state to state.  The Oklahoma mandate is ten gallons or more, Texas is five, and in North Dakota, it's one gallon or more. 

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