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I've been walkin' on the railroad...and it's not what you would expect! Did you know that, in cities across the world, out-of-use elevated freight rail lines have been resurrected as rustic gardens and public parks? It's true! From Paris to Chicago to New York City, defunct industrial corridors have made for quite the elysian green spaces. On a recent trip to the Big Apple, I was thrilled to visit The High Line —one of the city's most unique public parks. Hovering over Manhattan’s West Side,...

Feds reviewing status of lesser prairie chicken

Dec 7, 2016
Texas Wildlife and Parks / Gary Kramer

Earlier this year, the lesser prairie chicken was removed from the threatened and endangered species list, but in response to a petition by environmentalists, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to review the bird’s status.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

An increase in oil prices is likely a precursor to higher gas prices over the holidays. Following an agreement by OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, last week to cut global oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day, the price of crude oil rose to $55 per barrel, a 16-month high, as Yahoo News reports. AAA reported a seven-day increase in national average gas prices which reached $2.18 per gallon Monday. That is a five-cent per gallon increase from last week. OPEC’s...

Ars Technica

Oklahoma could be in for a lot less shaking according to a research study that shows earthquake activity slows as wastewater injection is reduced.


The last few decades have witnessed an unprecedented explosion of wild pigs in the continental U.S. Over the last 30 years, feral swine populations have ballooned to spread across 39 states. As AgWeb reports, it’s now estimated that there are as many as 11 million pigs living wild in America. And these animals just seem to keep proliferating, no matter what ag operations try. USDA pig expert Jack Mayer says setting pigs loose on virgin land is akin to pouring water on gremlins. The issue is,...

Ars Technica

Oklahoma’s earthquake rate has declined significantly since late May, reports Ars Technica . And things should be improving even further, according to a new study from Stanford University. The improvement comes after the Oklahoma Corporation Commission ordered wastewater injections to be reduced earlier this year . The injections are generally accepted in the scientific community to be the cause of Oklahoma’s staggering rise in earthquakes over the past few years. As hydrogeologist Scott...

US Drought Monitor

Colorado has been abnormally dry in recent months. But, as KUSA Denver reports, that could be changing. Becky Bolinger, a climatologist with the Colorado Climate Center in Fort Collins, says Colorado’s “going through a bit of a shift right now.” Over the past couple of weeks, Colorado’s high country has started accumulate more snowpack. And that’s good news for eastern Colorado agriculture, which often relies on runoff from the Rockies. Two weeks ago, the state’s snowpack levels were only...

It's autumn, so what better time to take a walk through a garden within a garden within a garden? On today's installment of Growing on the High Plains , I'll zip you off to the Big Apple so we can explore the many wonders of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden —an incredible space that features phenomenal themed gardens, diverse pavilions, an eco-center, educational classes, and shade trees that seem to spread out as wide as our region's prairies. Situated in one of the most bustling boroughs in "the...


The Lone Star State reported its first mosquito-transmitted Zika virus case Monday, making it only the second state other than Florida in which the virus has been spread from mosquitoes to humans, FiveThirtyEight reports. According to a press release from the Texas Department of State Health Services, a lab test performed on a Cameron County Texas resident last week came back positive for the virus, which is spread from mosquitoes to humans. “We knew it was only a matter of time before we saw...

Much of High Plains remains in drought

Nov 28, 2016
Jeroen Moes

Much of the High Plains region continues to be plagued by at least moderate drought. According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor , western Kansas, eastern Colorado and the Oklahoma panhandle are in moderate to severe drought. KGOU reported earlier this week that almost half of Oklahoma is in a drought. In addition to the panhandle, the U.S Drought Monitor indicates that the eastern half of the Sooner state is experiencing everything from abnormally dry conditions to severe drought. According...


In western Kansas, meanwhile, a farmer and local officials were recently honored for their efforts to preserve water. A Finney County farmer and the City of Garden City were recognized earlier this month at the Governor’s Water Conference in Manhattan for taking measures to conserve, reuse or adopt practices aimed at preserving the state’s future water resources. According to Kansas Agland , Finney County farmer Tom Willis is one of three farmers in Kansas to establish a Water Technology Farm...

Blue catfish season kicks off

Nov 26, 2016
Luke clayton

With this most recent cold front, the trophy blue catfish season begins. Shad will be moving to deeper, warmer water and those jumbo size blues will be in hot pursuit. In today's show, Luke talks about catching catfish with Guide David Hanson on Lake Tawakoni, the Catfish Capital of Texas and shares details of some exciting deer hunts he enjoyed close to home.

Alvesgaspar / Wikimedia Commons

A federal judge’s ruling last week is being hailed as a victory for insecticide companies and lamented as a loss for beekeepers and nature advocates, reports Agri-Pulse. An insecticide seed coating called neonicotinoid is believed to be partially responsible for the disappearance in many areas of the country of bees. Environmental groups had sued to have the substance outlawed. But last week U.S. District Judge William Alsup found that it does not fall under his authority to prevent the use...

Jeanne Falk / K-State Research and Extension

The High Plains has seen unusually mild fall temperatures, even reaching record highs in many areas. But now the temperatures are dropping and the question becomes, how will the weather switch affect High Plains farmland? More specifically, after the unseasonable warmth, will winter wheat be ready for the drop in temperatures? As AgProfessional.com reports, the short answer is, “Probably so.” Just because the wheat has responded heartily to warmth, doesn’t mean the grain won’t be able to...

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our HPPR listeners! To mark the holiday, I'm shaking free a few loose memories from beneath the pecan trees of my past. They say this holiday is all about reflecting on our blessings and spending time with family -- even if a few of our relations can be a little nuts. Enjoy this Thanksgiving edition of Growing on the High Plains, and I wish you all a peaceful meal full of bounty and gratitude...and a big slice of pecan pie!

Ars Technica

Attorneys in Oklahoma are laying the groundwork for a massive class action lawsuit surrounding the recent profusion of earthquakes in the Sooner State. As StateImpact reports, Pawnee resident James Adams is suing 27 different fracking companies in a case that concerns the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that shook Pawnee County in September. If a judge allows the case to move forward, more residents could join the class action. The attorneys argue that wastewater pumped into wells in and around...

cultura rf / Getty Images

When it comes to greenhouse gases, there’s one frequent contributor that may not have crossed your mind: belching cows. According to Wired.com, livestock puts out almost 15 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions each year . And most of that comes from cows. But now scientists are tackling the problem, doing their best to lessen the worldwide scourge of cow burps. They’re doing this by manipulating the things cows eat in efforts to reduce the amount of gas produced in cow stomachs. Cows...

Southwest Kansas farmers develop dual disc cutter

Nov 21, 2016
Kopper Kutter, LLC

A Cimarron farmer, a custom cutter and a Manhattan agriculture consultant have designed, built, patented and distributed a new type of dual disc cutter that converts corn heads to harvest sorghum, sunflowers and cellulose, and other row crops. According to the Hutch News , Cimarron farmer Kyle Kopper and custom cutter Randy Burns recently partnered with Alan VanNahmen of Farm Buddy, Co., to design, build, patent and distribute the Alternate Rotary Rowcrop Option (ARRO). Kopper, manager of...

Antler rattling on the High Plains

Nov 19, 2016
Luke Clayton

This week, Luke talks about his success in attracting whitetail bucks by rattling antlers and, discusses a "new" set of rattling tools that bring in bucks from great distances. As Rattling Forks owner Steven Ray says, "If they can't hear it, they won't come!"


When Americans think of reducing emissions, our first thought usually has to do with factories pumping out black smoke. But, as the Energy Collective notes, agriculture is actually responsible for between 14 and 18 percent of overall greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. And here on the High Plains, farmers and ranchers can all do their part to reduce America’s carbon footprint. Ag operations can produce greenhouse gases in unexpected ways. For example, slaughtering just one animal...

Photo by Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

After dueling reviews of research studies, scientific panels from the U.S. government and the World Health Organization are having a hard time agreeing whether glyphosate, the most common weed killer in the United States, can cause cancer. Known by the brand name RoundUp, glyphosate is sprayed on farm fields and lawns all across the country. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently reviewing the safety of glyphosate for the first time since 1993. As part of its scheduled review,...

On today's episode of Growing on the High Plains , mum's the word. (I'm talking about the flower, of course.) Ask any gardener in our region and you're likely to hear a chorus of praise for the chrysanthemum. They're colorful, hearty, elegant, and resilient -- a real High Plains hero. But mid-November is a bit of a crossroads for these favorites, so learn how you can reuse and rescue today's mums for tomorrow's garden.

Hot spot for hunting wild hogs in Texas

Nov 12, 2016
Photo by Luke Clayton

This week, Luke takes us to eastern Texas to hunt wild hogs. Hunting guide Larry Large of Hunting East Texas talks about one of the best spots for hog hunting in the eastern part of the state, located about an hour east of Dallas, near Athens.

Stehanie Mahe / Reuters

Wind farms appear to be killing many more bats than anyone previously realized, according to The Washington Post . For years, scientists have been documenting the death of birds and bats in the spinning blades of turbines. But now it seems bats are dying at a higher rate than previously estimated. The reason for all the dead bats wasn’t immediately clear to researchers. It’s been suggested that bats may be attracted to wind farms due to the emission of ultrasound from turbines. Wind farms may...

David Carson / St. Louis Post-Dispatch

If you find yourself out in the yard cleaning up Autumn leaves this week, you might consider putting down the rake. According to The Southern Illinoisan , raking your leaves can hurt wildlife. In fact, while dry, dead leaves may be unsightly to your neighbors, they make a great habitat for all kinds of creatures. Animals that love dwelling in a leafy kingdom include Butterflies and songbirds. And letting leaves decompose naturally can do wonders for your grass. David Mizejewski, a Naturalist...

George Frey / Getty Images

High Plains energy producers who oppose curbing greenhouse gases can rejoice this week, their candidate has won. Donald Trump, an avowed climate skeptic who once tweeted that he believed climate change to be a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese government, has selected his pick to helm the EPA. And environmentalists are seething. Myron Ebell is a well-known climate skeptic himself, a man who wears these credentials proudly. As Scientific American reports, Ebell’s selection is a sign that Trump...

While home gardening has certainly seen a rich resurgence in recent years, planting food crops for the purposes of conserving and preserving dates back to a time of meager means. Today on Growing on the High Plains , I'll share some history and context regarding the American "victory garden." Self-sufficient citizens that planted and maintained food plots helped supplement shortages in a time of war. Nurturing fresh food for the troops (and the family table) provided a sense of service, pride...

Getty Images

Big oil is investing big time in technologies to capture and store greenhouse gas emissions. As Bloomberg reports, some of the world’s biggest oil companies are investing $1 billion to develop methods to improve energy efficiency. The investment is a joint effort from 10 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, including Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc. The companies hope to deploy low-carbon technologies on a large scale. Jeremy Leggett, chairman of the Carbon Tracker...


Oklahoma’s earthquake victims have joined forces, and now they’re demanding action from their lawmakers. As KFOR reports, last week, a group of homeowners who have been terrorized by the quakes gathered at the state capitol, asking to be heard. Lisa Griggs is one such victim. Her Guthrie home required 106-thousand dollars in repairs after it was struck by tremors. Pawnee’s town square has been rattled repeatedly. The town’s mayor spoke at the capitol, pointing out that the state has only paid...

Finding enough space for a hearty garden is not a problem you would think affects most of us on the High Plains. However, gardeners all over the world have become increasingly adept at creating a manageable growing space in a compact area. Today's installment of Growing on the High Plains looks at one smart solution: straw bale gardens. They're raised, tidy, hospitable to seeds, and can yield a spectacular crop with care and attention.