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

Spirit AeroSystems said Friday it will suspend production of the 737 Max beginning Jan. 1.

The company says Boeing ordered Spirit to halt all 737 deliveries. The 737 Max was grounded in March following two fatal crashes overseas.

Spirit did not say how the production suspension would affect its workforce of more than 13,000 people. The company is Wichita's largest private employer.

Spirit makes more than 70 percent of the 737 at its south Wichita plant.

On a side street near the Des Moines Water Works, a tall fence surrounds three garden plots. Geese fly overhead while trucks drive past a sign between the road and the fence. It says: “Industrial Development Land For Sale, Contact City of Des Moines.”

Until recently, the city rented the land for growing vegetables but now it’s been rezoned and put up for sale.

If there's one company that can slow U.S. growth to a crawl, it's Boeing.

The aircraft and aerospace giant is so important to the economy — it's the No. 1 exporter — that its decision this week to suspend production of its troubled 737 Max airplane is expected to reverberate throughout the manufacturing sector.

Several analysts project that the move will slash economic growth by half a percentage point and eventually lead to layoffs.

A tentative agreement easing trade restrictions with China seems like great news for farmers, who’ve been pummeled by the trade war. Some farmers, though, are skeptical. They worry that ag exports will suffer for years, and they've got history to back them up.

Prices for the corn and soybeans started rising last week, on rumors of a possible trade deal. Good news for Tom Kreisel, who farms near tiny Houstonia, Missouri.

“The last couple of days, they'd been up,” says Kreisel. “But they had took a nosedive before that, so we need to make that back.”

From Texas Standard:

In the 1990s, the North American Free Trade Agreement was created to better align the economies of the U.S., Canada and Mexico. One small part of it was a special work visa program that allowed American employers to more easily hire skilled foreign workers in certain fields, including in agriculture. But some employers took advantage of the program.

From Texas Standard:

Limited business regulation has led to an influx of large companies and skilled workers in Texas over the past few years. It's contributed to the state's $1.7 trillion economy. But despite massive economic growth, critics say some Texans are left behind.

Oklahoma's Economy Could Slow, Expert Says

Dec 12, 2019

The national economy is showing signs of slowing, and Oklahoma's economy could follow. Robert Dauffenbach, director of the Center for Economic and Management Research at the University of Oklahoma, says this is due in part to the state's reliance on oil and natural gas production. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses what Oklahomans should know about a possible economic downturn. 

It has been five years, but the memory still haunts construction superintendent Michelle Brown.

A co-worker ended his workday by giving away his personal cache of hand tools to his colleagues. It was a generous but odd gesture; no one intending to return to work would do such a thing.

The man went home and killed himself. He was found shortly afterward by co-workers who belatedly realized the significance of his gifts.

"It's a huge sign, but we didn't know that then," Brown says. "We know it now."

From Texas Standard:

Texas isn’t really known for its vast evergreen forests. You could count the piney woods in East Texas, but no one’s cutting those trees down for Christmas. But there is an alternative: For a short time over the holidays, tree farmers across the state open up their properties so Texans can choose and cut their own trees and get the feeling of an alpine experience.  

From Texas Standard:

Fifteen years ago, there were three distilleries in Texas. Today there are 158. But craft distillers say they are facing a potential setback that could cripple their ability to grow. They want Congress to extend a temporary tax cut that has significantly cut their cost of doing business.

The Leeds Business Research Division at the University of Colorado Boulder released their 55th annual “Colorado Business Economic Outlook Forecast” Monday. 

Richard Wobbekind, executive director of the Business Research Division and senior economist at the University of Colorado Boulder,  joined KUNC’s Colorado Edition to walk us through the findings of the report, and what’s ahead for our state’s economy in 2020.

Updated at 2:33 p.m. ET

U.S. employers added a better-than-expected 266,000 jobs in November in a sign the economy continues to power ahead.

The unemployment rate dipped to 3.5%. Job gains for the two previous months were revised up by a total of 41,000.

"It's a tremendous report," said White House economist Tom Philipson. "Obviously, it's something to be very happy about."

Updated at 9:58 a.m. ET

The tariff war has caused a lot of anxiety for business owners and farmers. But how much has it hurt the overall economy?

The stock market got off to a rocky start this week when President Trump launched a new round of tariff threats. But administration loyalists insist concern about the trade war is overblown.

Public Domain via Pixabay

When Charles Schwab recently announced its $26 billion mega-merger with TD Ameritrade, the company also announced that it will be relocating the massive company’s headquarters from San Francisco to North Texas.

A Tip To Save Money On Your Christmas Energy Bill

Nov 24, 2019
Public Domain via Pixabay

The holidays are just around the corner, and for many of us that means it’s time to put up our Christmas and Hanukkah lights.

XCel energy put out a press release this week (see below) to remind High Plains families to be safe with their electricity—and to employ energy-saving LED holiday lighting when possible.

The number of black farmers in the U.S. is shrinking — down to less than 2% of total farmers — and many are losing their land.

Members of the Kansas Black Farmers Association are working with the state in hopes of reversing that trend.

The shale oil boom that catapulted the U.S. into being the world's largest oil producer may be going bust. Oil prices are dropping amid weakening demand, bankruptcies and layoffs are up, and drilling is down — signs of a crisis that's quietly roiling the industry.

Some of the most successful companies in the oil business are household names — think Exxon Mobil or Chevron. But the boom in shale drilling has been driven by smaller, independent operators. These companies have pushed the limits of drilling technology and taken big risks on unproven oil fields.

Nicole Jackson came to the first Midwest SoulVeg Fest to get some inspiration on her slow path to being a vegan. She admitted that as a black person who grew up going to events centered on meat, it’s easier said than done.

“Sunday dinner after church, the cookouts, the barbeques, where we are just gathered by food that pulls us together,” said Jackson, who is from Olathe, Kansas.

Thousands of banks, millions of customers and billions of dollars rely on remote deposit capture (RDC) through smartphones or tablets. San Antonio-based USAA went to federal court this week against Wells Fargo over who owns mobile check depositing technology. 

Just three years ago, the CEO of Molson Coors was bragging about Denver being home to the world’s third-largest beer maker.

Not anymore.

The announcement that Molson Coors would shift its corporate headquarters from Denver to Chicago ends a nearly 150-year corporate governance relationship between the beer “brewed with pure Rocky Mountain water” and Colorado.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is laying out its plan for hemp production, 10 months after the 2018 farm bill paved the way for farmers to grow it. 

The new federal program, which will be published Thursday in the Federal Register, is an “interim final rule” open to public comment. It would require farmers to secure a license from the USDA or their state if they want to grow hemp. 

Maria Galvan used to make about $25,000 a year. She didn’t qualify for welfare, but she still had trouble meeting her basic needs.

“I would just be working just to be poor and broke,” she said. “It would be so frustrating.”

When things got bad, the single mother and Topeka resident took out a payday loan. That meant borrowing a small amount of money at a high interest rate, to be paid off as soon as she got her next check.

In the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, a small farm is preparing for the end of summer. Irrigation canals that were full to bursting months ago are slowing with the changing season. This spring, just outside Alamosa, Wayne Cody and his son Josh jumped a ditch to check on their rye's progress.

Chad Dechow, a geneticist at Pennsylvania State University who studies dairy cows, is explaining how all of America's cows ended up so similar to each other.

He brings up a website on his computer. "This is the company Select Sires," he says. It's one of just a few companies in the United States that sells semen from bulls for the purpose of artificially inseminating dairy cows.

Dechow chooses the lineup of Holstein bulls. This is the breed that dominates the dairy business. They're the black-and-white animals that give a lot of milk.

Most farmers haven't had a single good year since President Trump took office, and Trump’s policies on trade, immigration and ethanol are part of the problem.

Yet farmers, who broadly supported Trump in 2016, are sticking with him as the impeachment inquiry moves forward.

“You see everyone circling their wagons now, and the farm community is no different in that,” says John Herath, the news director at Farm Journal.

The Trump administration will add onto future ethanol requirements to make up for its waivers that allowed small oil refineries to mix less of the biofuel with gasoline. But the extra gallons may not ultimately make up for all the industry has lost.

Japan’s Parliament is convening this month and will likely take up a new trade deal with the United States. If enacted, the agreement might bring some good news to farmers, but no one really knows. 

Official language of the deal has not yet been made public, though the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said it would increase access to the Japanese market for U.S. wheat, pork, and beef.

Six months after shouting that new legislative drilling regulations were an existential threat to their industry in Colorado, the state’s oil and gas producers are now whispering a different message to Wall Street:

No big deal.

The Latest Generation Gap In Farming Is About Robots

Oct 1, 2019

On a recent bright, clear day in eastern Nebraska, a small red machine crept through a lush field of soybeans. From the highway, it looked like a small tractor. Up close, its mess of wires came into focus. So did the laptop strapped to the back.

This is the Flex-Ro (Flexible Robotic Unit), one of several robots across the world being designed and tested to help farmers maximize crop yield, use fewer pesticides, and manage the industry’s dwindling labor market.

From Texas Standard:

When President Donald Trump started slapping tariffs on Chinese imports to the United States in 2018, one American company that stood to lose big was Apple. The parts Apple needed from China to build its top-of-the-line Mac Pro would have been prohibitively expensive to assemble in the U.S. But now, Apple has announced it’s not only building the Mac Pro in America, but production will be right here in Texas.

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