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Lori Potter / Kearney Hub

Jerry Stevens enrolled in the Rainwater-Basin Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program, which restores and protects wetlands in fields under production by allowing center pivots to cross the rainwater basins. It's win-win. The program protects a wetland, and allows the producer to farm the circle around it.

What Climate Looks Like in the Texas Panhandle

Dec 15, 2013
NASA

NASA provides a bird’s eye view that shows how climate change and increased population has changed some geographic features in Texas.  

publicdomainpictures.net

 Howdy Folks.  I've got a special treat.  My ole buddy, James "Dubb" Wallace, took some time to talk with me on the phone about spending his Christmas vacations camping in the mountains of the Texas/Mexico border.

Santa Claus Melons

Dec 11, 2013

Melons are most often thought of as summertime treats, and many High Plains gardens offer them up during the hottest part of the growing season.  But our subject today is a melon type that produces in the heat but has the staying power to become a  prized centerpiece for holiday tables.  Santa Claus or Christmas melons have a few things going for them that set them apart from regular cantaloupes or honeydews, and that's the reason they can last so long off the vine.

Texas District 31 Primary: North versus South?

Dec 10, 2013
texasalmanac.com

Incumbent Sen. Kel Seliger, R- Amarillo, will have a Republican challenger from the south in next year’s primary election reported Enrique Rangel for the Amarillo Globe-News.  

High Tech Comes to Feral Hog Extermination

Dec 10, 2013
inhabitat.com

Feral pigs are pests.  Every year they cause an estimated $1.5 billion of damage to crops.  Texans are trying to shoot them from helicopters to control their numbers, but that method is not effective.  Pigs are smart, and soon learn to hide from the noisy choppers.

Kansas Ground Water Management

New legislation in Kansas makes it possible for producers to work within water conservation districts to create Locally Enhanced Management Areas (LEMAs) and agree among themselves how much groundwater use they can curtail. Brad Oelke talks about the first LEMA, which began in January 2013, and how NRCS may be able to help irrigators reduce consumption.

Luke Clayton

Merry Christmas Folks!

Today I’ve got some unique gift ideas for the hunter on your list, and I guarantee you will not find these things in every store. 

stillwaterweather.com

Although the cause is under debate, the fact is Oklahoma ranks second in seismic activity in the continental United States according to analysis done by EnergyWire. 

Gardening Gifts

Dec 5, 2013
wehavethetools.com

This week we'll look at items both from and for the garden, with some special attention given to finding gifts that might make gardening chores a bit easier for senior gardeners.  We'll also look at some 'gifts from the soil' that don't really require soil, thus making them ideal holiday items for those who miss not having a garden of their own anymore.    

oklahomafarmreport.com

Realizing the vital importance of the Ogallala Aquifer to the High Plains, The Natural Resources Conservation Service launched the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative. Playa lakes recharge the aquifer, and because of that, NRCS provides ways, through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, for producers to rehabilitate playas in cropland. NRCS Conservationists can help landowners develop a conservation plan that meets their goals, using this and other USDA conservation programs.

Sam Greenwood, Getty Images / kfyo.com

The Phillips 66 and WRB Refining in Borger, Texas has agreed to a penalty and compliance plan related to a migratory bird kill in August of 2012 reported KFYO.  

lindyfishingtackle.com

Howdy, folks! 

Today we're wrapping it up with Bill Dance; talking about how he moved from bass fishing tournaments to television.  When one door closes, a window opens.  That's the story of Bill's life.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

As farmers across the Midwest have simplified the landscape and plowed up grassland to grow more corn and soybeans, habitat for pheasants, quail and other grassland birds has become increasingly scarce and their numbers are falling.

In Nebraska, wild pheasant concentrations have fallen 86 percent since their peak in the 1960s. The pheasant harvest during hunting season in Iowa is off 63 percent from the highs reached in the 1970s. In areas that used to be overrun, you’ll struggle to find a pheasant now.

Jerod Foster / texastribune.org

Standing on a sprawling ranch where drilling rigs, cranes and bobbing stripper wells form a makeshift skyline, Jimmy Davis is not thinking solely about sucking up oil. It is not the only precious liquid that is pumped from under the land that he manages according to a recent article in the Texas Tribune.

How are High Plains Kids Doing?

Nov 26, 2013
stapletonscoop.com

The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently released its annual KIDS COUNT Data Book. 16 indicators are tracked. This year’s report revealed that children in the United States continue to make gains in education and health despite a growing poverty rate. The report was expanded to include American’s youngest children.  

Wikimedia Commons

A grouse of the open grassland, the Greater Prairie-Chicken is known for its mating dance, performed by males on flat display sites on shortgrass prairie called leks. Their range extends from northern Oklahoma through the Flinthills and northern Kansas, and on north through the centers of Nebraska and the Dakotas. Sarah Sortum and her brother found their way back to the family ranch in the central Nebraska sandhills by starting an eco-tourism business, allowing bird watchers to see the chicken in its mixed-grass home.

Suicide Rate Increases in Kansas

Nov 25, 2013
psychcentral.com

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment 2012 Annual Summary of Vital Statistics revealed suicides in Kansas increased 31.5 percent, totaling 505 deaths versus 384 in 2011,according to a recent article from the Kansas Institute of Health

unitedcountry.com

Folks, you know, sometimes life takes you a direction, and then brings people in that affirm your choice, and take you to the next level.  That is exactly what happened to Bill Dance, and as fate would have it, one of the people he came in contact with was my uncle, Luke.

A World Without Bees

Nov 20, 2013
Winfried Rothermel / APN

You don't have to look the world over for evidence that honeybees are in trouble. A global disaster is in the making, and it's evident right in our backyards. Today Growing on the High Plains looks at the worries of beekeepers in Western Kansas, and the things we'll lose from our table when we lose the honeybees. Get ready to say so long to a myriad of fruits, nuts, and vegetables that depend on the honeybee for pollination.

Kevin Welch / amarillo.com

Life requires water. In Texas the surface water, owned by the state, is drying or dried up, and everyone from farmers to politicians are looking underground to make up the state’s growing water deficit according to the Texas Tribune.  

Production Ag: Sub-surface Irrigation Study Findings

Nov 19, 2013
Nate Birt / agweb.com

The Kansas State University Research Center in Colby, Kansas, has been studying ways to use precious groundwater more efficiently.  Subsurface drip irrigation has been tested for 25 years according to the High Plains Journal

Wikimedia Commons

The Ferruginous is North America's largest hawk. Its habitat includes grasslands, deserts, and other open areas with isolated shrubs or trees where less than 50 percent of the land is under cultivation. The raptor preys on small mammals, many of which would be considered pests to ranchers. Its favorite meal is the prairie dog; a depopulation of the prairie dog on the High Plains has negatively impacted this hawk's numbers.

The Republican River Dispute Continues

Nov 18, 2013
harvestpublicmedia.org

Kansas and Nebraska continue to struggle for a fair share of Republican River according to The Wichita Eagle.  

Bill Dance

Howdy folks, have I got a surprise for you today… my old friend Bill Dance stopped by for a chat, and we’re talking about the defining moment that changed the course of his life.  Believe it or not, he was 7 years old when it happened.  He was fishing with his grandparents one afternoon.  He was fishing.  His Grandfather was fishing.  His grandmother had a quilt spread out on the bank; she was crocheting.  Ah, heck, why don’t you just take a few minutes and listen to Bill tell it.  Just click on the arrow up above.

Until next time, be safe and enjoy the great outdoors.

Whooping Cranes in Kansas: Keep your distance

Nov 14, 2013
Michael Pearce / The Wichita Eagle

Whooping cranes are rare.  In 1942, there were only 20.  Today there are 500, and some have been spotted at the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in Stafford County according to The Wichita Eagle.  However, if you want to catch a glimpse of the tallest species of North American birds, keep your distance.

circajewels.com

Look!  Up in the sky!  It's a Bird....it's a plane....no, it's a honeybee just taking off from the roof of a high rise hotel!  During a trip to the New York City area we were headquartered at a hotel that provided spectacular views of the city skyline and an up close and personal look at some in-house methods of bringing nature indoors.  From a lobby lined with herbs planted into the walls to a rooftop that was home to thousands of honeybees who daily worked the surrounding New Jersey farmlands, this Regency hotel is doing its best to be a good neighbor to it's guests, the surrounding community, and the environment.

Upland Bird Report: Eastern Colorado

Nov 13, 2013
wikipedia.org

Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists say lingering effects of a two-year drought have significantly affected pheasant populations across eastern Colorado, setting up challenging conditions for upland bird hunters who take to the field this season according a press release from the Colorado State Division of Wildlife.

Wikimedia Commons

The Sandhill Crane is a tall gray bird of open grasslands, meadows and wetlands. The most numerous crane species in the world, this bird congregates in huge numbers during migration between wintering grounds in the Southwest and its breeding grounds in Canada, Alaska and Eastern Asia.

dravesarchery.com

Howdy Folks!  This is the last week I'm going to talk with David Fort, the president of the American Whitetail Authority.    

David has shared with me the process his organization goes through to choose hunters to participate in their tournaments, and let me tell you what, it is not a walk in the park.  

In addition to having an excellent skill set, there are three tournaments hunters participate in, with the final one in eastern Kansas in January.

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