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

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.

If you've flown across Nebraska, Kansas or western Texas on a clear day, you've seen them: geometrically arranged circles of green and brown on the landscape, typically half a mile in diameter. They're the result of pivot irrigation, in which long pipes-on-wheels rotate slowly around a central point, spreading water across cornfields.

Yet most of those fields are doomed. The water that nourishes them eventually will run low.

amarillo.com

There’s a new use for the V-22 Osprey.  The military has it’s eye on the aircraft that was developed to carry troops and supplies as a refueling tanker.  An aerial trial was recently conducted in the Texas Panhandle to demonstrate the V-22’s capability of refueling strike aircraft according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

Pat Blank for Harvest Public Media

Grain bins on rural farms filled with a year’s harvest can be dangerous and when workers become trapped in the grain, it often ends in death. That’s why in Iowa, volunteer fire departments are using training and new equipment to increase the chances of survival in an entrapment.

A study by Purdue University shows the overall death rate from accidents on American farms has been declining. However, the number of fatalities from grain bin entrapments has been stubbornly steady, hitting an all-time high of 51 in 2010.

Jim Wilson / nytimes.com

The University of Texas at Austin has been measuring how much methane leaks from natural gas production sites after hydraulic fracturing.  Advocates on both sides of the fracking issue have been waiting for results to back their positions according to the Texas Tribune.

http://a-ward.com/industry/food-industry/

A huge new rail yard has been buzzing on the outskirts of Decatur, Ill. Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) recently opened the 275-acre facility that would be at home at any major port city on the coast. But it’s in the heart of Illinois farm country because farmers have been taking advantage of a new method of shipping out their products.

The long, slow decline of the U.S. sheep industry

Oct 14, 2013
Tatiana Bulyonkova / flickr commons

Over the last 20 years, the number of sheep in this country has been cut in half. In fact, the number has been declining since the late 1940s, when the American sheep industry hit its peak. Today, the domestic sheep herd is one-tenth the size it was during World War II.

Cheap, plentiful and seemingly in everything

Oct 14, 2013

Corn is ubiquitous and there are two broad reasons for that: it is cheap and it is versatile.

The price of corn held steady—and low—for decades before the ethanol market took off . But even in recent years when the price shot up over $8-a-bushel, it remained viable as a raw material for many uses beyond food, animal feed and fuel.

Oil and Gas Production: U.S. Leads the World

Oct 9, 2013
EIA

The current domestic drilling boom has brought plenty of jobs, traffic and concerns about pollution and sustainability. It’s also put the U.S. in a position that was unimaginable a decade ago: this year, the U.S. will be the number one producer of oil and gas, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) according to State Impact Texas.

townmapsusa.com

From Guymon in the Oklahoma Panhandle to Ponca City in the north of the state, significant permanent population growth and workforce housing demands are exceeding the housing supply, said Dr. Kay Decker.  Decker is a professor of sociology, and chair of the Department of Social Sciences at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva.

Carson County, Texas: What does Pantex Do?

Oct 7, 2013
dshs.state.tx.us

The Carson County Pantex plant, located in the Texas Panhandle, is where the nation’s nuclear weapons are dismantled or modified. 

www2.dupont.com

On a clear fall day in central Iowa, Aaron Lehman climbed into the cab of his green combine with a screwdriver to do some maintenance. He was hoping his corn had a couple more weeks to grow before harvesting because the price per bushel this fall is much lower than it has been for the past three years.

Corn farmers have been riding high prices for the last few years. But an expected bumper crop has prices falling this harvest season, and many economists expect the price of corn to drop to its lowest level in recent years.

harvestpublicmedia.org

The top ag revenue counties in Kansas are not in the east where water flows freely in rivers and creeks.  The top producers are in the dry west according to Drovers Cattle Network.

Southeastern Colorado Farmer Has First Hemp Harvest

Oct 3, 2013
Hemp Industries Association

The first known hemp harvest in more than fifty years began this month in southeastern Colorado according to Denver Westward Blogs.

simplyyourhealth.com

It’s illegal in Oklahoma to deliver or advertise raw milk, and a growing number of Oklahomans are choosing raw milk.  The increased demand has prompted an interim legislative impact study on the legalization of raw milk delivery and advertising according to State Impact Oklahoma.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

   

Heritage grains are trendy. Walk through a health food store and see packages of grains grown long before modern seed technology created hybrid varieties, grains eaten widely outside of the developed world: amaranth, sorghum, quinoa.

But there’s another grain with tremendous potential growing on the Great Plains: millet.

ed_needs_a_bicycle / flickr commons

With the Ogallala aquifer declining, there’s the inevitable question of how best to use the water remaining.  A recent study from Texas A&M suggests one answer: expand the cattle production and processing industries and rely on bringing in more “imported” grain and the “virtual” water it brings to the region.

Russell Lee/ Farm Security Administration /LOC

Congress is bitterly divided on food stamps and other issues contained in the farm bill, but both political parties agree on something: the $5 billion-a-year farm subsidy called Direct and Countercyclical Payments has got to go.

High Country News

Amarillo’s Federal Helium Reserve got a reprieve Thursday as the Senate unanimously approved a bill extending the reserve, a day after the House approved the measure, also unanimously. Without the legislation, the facility would have been forced to shut down on October 7th under older legislation.  The reserve provides 42% of the country’s helium and 35% of the world’s.

John Deere / http://www.deere.com/

Buying a new farm tractor costs almost as much as a new home in a decent suburb.  

Shelling out $200,000 or more for shiny new John Deere, Case IH, New Holland or other name brand horsepower to work the fields of a 21st century Midwestern farm isn’t unusual, farmers and dealers say.

What seems more unusual, to newcomers to farm economics at least, is that those shiny new models aren’t the hottest selling big iron on many dealers’ lots.  That would be the used tractors that were traded in when the new models rolled off the dealers’ flatbed trucks.

nabholz.com

Nine months into the Kansas Medicaid makeover, health care providers are struggling with KanCare reported the Kansas Health Initiative

End of Tax Break Could Affect Tractor Sales

Sep 23, 2013
Bill Wheelhouse/Harvest Public Media

On a hot August day in late August, Kevin Bien stands in the shade of a large gray piece of farm equipment.  The brand marketing manager for Gleaner Combines gives his best spiel to a group of farmers attending the Farm progress Show  in Decatur, Ill.   Torque, efficiency, and new technology are among his key points for the prospective buyers of the large machines that can run anywhere from $300,000 to $500,000.    

And farmers are buying. Frequently.

hutchnews.com

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, or PEDv, is a heat-sensitive virus than can kill up to 100% of piglets that contract it, and hog producers in the Oklahoma Panhandle and Southwestern Kansas are battling the disease that experts now believe is carried on the wind reported the Global Post.  That’s devastating news for high plains farmers where the wind is a strong, consistent force of nature. 

Google Earth

Long before unmanned drones buzzed though rural America’s skies, pilots have been recording birds-eye views of the changing history of the nation’s farms and ranches.

Some worked for the government.   But others were entrepreneurs, just trying to make a buck or two.  Now, they are using the Internet too.

texastribune.org

Once again, estimates recently released by U.S. Census Bureau say Texas has the most uninsured in the nation according to a recent article from The Texas Tribune.    

Google: Powered by The Happy Hereford

Sep 18, 2013
Flickr/Creative Commons License

Google has added a huge amount of renewable energy to its portfolio:  The Happy Hereford wind farm outside Amarillo.  Google has agreed to purchase the entire output, 270-megawatts, of the wind farm according to KCET

Olivia Gordon/StateImpact Texas

It's the newest high-end electric car on the market, and it's not sold in Texas. It's not being sold in many other states, either.

Battery Theft Afflicts Oil and Gas Drillers

Sep 15, 2013
texastribune.org

Batteries in the oil field cost a few hundred more than a car battery, and they’re used to power equipment that monitors pipelines.   Battery supply companies buy the batteries- dead or alive, and that seems to be an open door for theft reported The Texas Tribune.  

Who Bought the Chunk of Texas

Sep 13, 2013
amarillo.com

The 25 square-mile piece of Texas was auctioned off this week, and it’s no longer owned by one person.  According to the Amarillo Globe-News, purchasers bought pieces for the expected use of farming and ranching, but some had diverse purposes in mind. 

Chicago-based musician Susan Werner has worked on concept albums before – from jazz standards to pop classics to Gospel music for agnostics. Her new album is described as “egg meets art,” celebrating the culture of agriculture through music. Harvest Public Media reporter Laura Spencer spoke with Susan Werner. Her new CD, Hayseed, was co-commissioned by the University of Nebraska’s Lied Center for the Performing Arts and the Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR).

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