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

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).

unitedtexas.com

United Family Supermarkets will be a subsidiary of Albertson’s.  The family who started United will leave the business, but Robert Taylor, CEO, will be retained as well as well as staff reported the Amarillo Globe-News.

Farmville helps explain farm bill

Sep 9, 2013
courtesy of Zynga

The farm bill is, once again, entering a critical stretch. As was the case last year, the current law expires at the end of September. There’s no election to dissuade elected officials from tackling the major piece of agriculture and nutrition policy—but Congress does have a pretty full plate, with the crisis in Syria, immigration reform and a measure to continue funding federal government programs all set to come to a head.

raconline.org

The United States Department of Health and Human Services issued a report with recommendations that, if acted upon, could put hundreds of small, rural hospitals in jeopardy according to an article by the Kansas Health Institute.

SW Kansas Trio Work to Save Current Route

Sep 9, 2013
amtrak.com

The Southwest Chief runs from Chicago and Los Angeles, with a route through Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico.  Poor track conditions have caused the Southwest Chief to reduce speeds through Kansas reported the Dodge City Globe

Bill Lollar flickr / creative commons

Most Americans don’t eat horse meat, and they don’t like the idea of horses being slaughtered, but a handful of investors are struggling to restart a horse slaughter industry in the United States.

The investors argue that reviving horse slaughter plants would be both good for the horse business and more humane than the current situation. They’re hoping to open a new horse slaughter plant near Gallatin, Mo., but opposition has the project mired in the legal system. The issue cleaves horse owners into two camps: one that views horses as pets and another that see them as livestock.

Quentin Hope

  At $200 per acre, Trego County, KS topped the list of High Plains counties in per acre crop insurance payments in 2012.  Other top counties were Wallace County, KS at $157 per acre and Rawlins County, KS at $127 per acre.  All three are in Northwest Kansas.  At the bottom is the list was Hemphill County, TX in the northeast corner of the Panhandle with just $1 per acre on only 13,400 planted acres.

Up For Auction: A 25 square mile chunk of Texas

Sep 5, 2013
http://assiter.com/

On Thursday, September 12, 10:00am, an unusual auction will take place at McLean Cowboy Church in McLean.  Up for bids is the Chapman Ranch, a 16,000 acre parcel spanning roughly 25 square miles in Gray and Wheeler counties according to a recent article by the Amarillo Globe-News.

What $154 million in payouts means to a county

Sep 4, 2013
Darrell Hoemann/The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

Farmer Doug Wilson has been buying crop insurance since 1980. 

“You carry home insurance, hoping your house doesn’t burn down. We carry crop insurance, hoping our crops don’t burn down,” Wilson said on a sweltering day in mid-August as he walked among the healthy 8-foot corn stalks in one his fields in central Illinois. “But last year, they burned down — kind of literally.”

summacare.com

As October 1 is just a few weeks away, there seems to be even more confusion about the Affordable Care Act than ever.  According to a recent KUT article, it’s not only consumers who are perplexed by the program, but medical providers are too.

The high plains are wind-rich, but the biggest need for energy is on the populous coasts.  The issue is easily seen.   State Impact Oklahoma shared these maps. 

The higher the wind speed, the higher the energy potential.  Look where the greatest potential is.

Now, notice where the transmission lines are located.

COOL too cumbersome for meat labeling?

Sep 3, 2013
www.foodsafetynews.com

For several years now, there’s been a battle brewing over how much U.S. consumers need to know about where their meat comes from.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture is in the midst of implementing a new country-of-origin labeling rule, also known as COOL, that requires companies to label where animals were born, raised and slaughtered. The new rule also prohibits meat from two different animals from being comingled and sold in the same package.

ars.usda.gov

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service of the Southern Plains is on a mission.  For 75 years, they’ve been working, “to sustainably balance today’s livelihoods with tomorrow’s needs.”  An article from the Amarillo Globe-News reported scientists at the facility do more than write research papers, they put them into practice. 

toastwireless.com

The “digital divide” between urban and rural areas used to be all about access to broadband internet service.  Today it is much more about adoption where access is now available. 

www.nebraska.tv

Farmers across the country received a record breaking 17.3 billion dollars in federal crop insurance payouts after last year’s drought.  While the payments were critical for the financial well-being of farmers, the National Resources Defense Council has issued a report critical of the structure of the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP).

Uninsured: How things look on the high plains

Sep 1, 2013
michaudinsurance.com

The latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals the percentage of uninsured people under the age of 65. 

Here’s how things look on the high plains:

  • Colorado: 17%
  • Kansas: 14.4%
  • Oklahoma: 21.8%
  • Texas: 25.7%
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.

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. 

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.

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. 

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