HPPR Economy and Enterprise

usatoday.com

  Rain and snow have eased most of Colorado's extreme drought conditions, but not southeastern Colorado reported Colorado Public Radio.  And years of drought have taken their toil on the cattle industry.

JOE WERTZ / STATEIMPACT OKLAHOMA

It seems odd that in a state currently experiencing an oil boom, there could be a shortage of gasoline without ethanol, but it’s true according to a recent article by State Impact Oklahoma.  Pure gasoline is in short supply in the Central United States, and that includes Oklahoma.

In 1960 just 3 percent of the Ogallala aquifer under Western Kansas had been tapped.  By 2010 it was 30 percent.  By 2060 it will be 69 percent.  And once depleted, it will take 500-1,300 years to completely refill.  These projections are all from a recently issued, comprehensive, four year study from Kansas State University. 

Greentechmedia.com

Domestic Fuel reported financing is complete, and construction has begun on the Panhandle Wind project in Carson County, northeast of Amarillo.  Pattern Energy Group LP said the project will be among the first to use the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) transmission infrastructure according to a recent article by Greentechmedia.

Texas Tribune

Texas lawmakers increased funding to address the shortage of physicians reported The Texas Tribune.  The medical community has doubts the addition is a long term solution.  “Nobody wants to see this pendulum swing, where there’s money for this biennium and no money the next biennium,” said Dr. David Wright, chairman of the Texas Medical Association’s education committee. “There has to be a better, more stabilized funding mechanism for all of this.”

State Impact Texas

If Texas were its own country, it would be one of the top producing nations in the world reported State Impact Texas.  When you take a look, almost the entire state has some degree of oil production. 

Texas Leads the Country in Natural Gas Production

Aug 22, 2013
State Impact Texas

State Impact Texas reported that Texas has about 23 percent of the country’s natural gas reserves.  Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has allowed more production than any other state.

State Impact Oklahoma

As the oilfields boom in Oklahoma, so are the state tax credits for drilling reported State Impact Oklahoma.  

Texas Roads: The oil boom has a price

Aug 21, 2013
Eddie Seal / Texas Tribune

Next week 80 miles of Texas roads will begin the conversion from paved to gravel according to the Texas Tribune.  The oil boom has significantly increased traffic on many farm roads in South and East Texas.  The damage is extensive.  Dave Glessner, spokesman for the TxDOT says, “Since paving roads is too expensive and there is not enough funding to repave them all, our only other option to make them safer is to turn them into gravel roads."

Area Hospitals Penalized for Readmissions

Aug 21, 2013
gstaadlife.com

The Texas Tribune recently reported the federal government is working to pay for better performance, and penalizing hospitals that have the highest rates of Medicare patients who are readmitted within 30 days of receiving treatment for heart failure, heart attacks, or pneumonia.  As part of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals can be penalized up to 1% of Medicare payment rates for all procedures this year, and up to 2% next. 

Both ways for Buffet: GMO and Organic

Aug 21, 2013
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

A Midwestern farmer with a well-known last name has set out to fight hunger on a global scale. Howard G. Buffett is the son of Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world. The younger Buffett believes that to help people, you must first make sure they can feed themselves. He has a 3,200-acre farm in Illinois and another in Arizona, where research is being done in hopes of learning how Africans can become better farmers.

Cattle Rustling: Oklahoma and Texas up 40%

Aug 20, 2013
Steve Ritter

Cattle rustling is up almost 40% this year in Oklahoma and Texas.  State Impact Texas reported there are a number of reasons:

Doing More With Less Water

Aug 20, 2013
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

The future of agriculture across the Great Plains hinges on water. Without it, nothing can grow.

Climate models and population growth paint a pretty bleak picture for water availability a few decades from now. If farmers want to stay in business, they have to figure out how to do more with less. Enter: super efficient irrigation systems.

State Impact Texas

Texas leads the nation in wind energy production, and a lot of that wind power comes from the panhandle.  A recent article from State Impact Texas features a map showing annual wind energy production by county. 

If you’d like to see wind energy production around the world, The Wind Power, is a wind industry website that maintains a database of all wind farms. 

There are a number of factors making it hard for rural hospitals to make ends meet. Colorado Matters explores those issues, as well as the effects of sequestration and the Affordable Care Act. Listen to the podcast.

Can government help grow rural towns?

Aug 19, 2013
wayne's eye view/Flickr

We don’t like you. You caused our problems. You don’t care about us. Help us.

That might be a bit of a crass interpretation, but it encapsulates what a chunk of rural voters seem to think of government and their elected officials.

It’s what’s for dinner, and it’s more expensive

Aug 18, 2013
aspiringgentleman.com

The price of beef recently hit a record high according to KUT News, and it’s not just the drought driving prices up. 

High Plains States: Obamacare Grant Recipients

Aug 18, 2013
lerablog.org

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded a total of $67 million “navigator” grants to more than 100 organizations across the country recently reported the Kansas Health Institute.  “Navigators will be among the many resources available to help consumers understand their coverage options in the Marketplace,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius according to The Texas Tribune

Howard Buffett: Farmer of the world

Aug 16, 2013
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

Five years ago, Howard G. Buffett was at a meeting of an international food aid agency when he was told that feeding the millions of starving people in Africa was simple.

Just give them better seeds, someone said.

That advice might work on some philanthropists. But Buffett, son of billionaire Warren Buffett, happens to be an Illinois farmer.

“This guy was explaining to me how to farm and he’d never been on a farm in his life,” he said. “So it really kind of irritated me. I came home and said, ‘OK, I’m going to have data to show these guys.’”

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

    Across the rural Midwest, landscapes are dotted with tall, cylindrical storage containers for grain. Some belong to commercial grain elevators, but increasingly farmers want to market their grain throughout the year so they install their own storage bins right on the farm. Maintaining the quality of that grain requires vigilance—and can present safety concerns. In particular, the risk of entrapment when a person enters a bin to check on the grain.

amarillo.com

Ground was broken on the largest federally owned wind farm in the nation on Tuesday at the Pantex Plant near Amarillo reported the Amarillo Globe-News.  Officials from the National Nuclear Security Administration, Texas Tech University, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency and contractor Siemens Government Technologies were present. 

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.

Drought Drying Up High Plains Feedyards

Aug 13, 2013
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.  

Attorney Nancy Stone predicted the court would order the American Quarter Horse Association to register cloned horses. She was right.

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.

Soybean breakthroughs coming on strong

Aug 11, 2013
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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