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

The grace period for medical marijuana and CBD businesses making or selling food products without a food license ends Friday, April 26.

Edibles like infused waters, brownies and candies are popular items at many medical marijuana and CBD businesses. The Oklahoma State Department of Health considers them all food products, and, under state law, anyone who makes or sells food has to get a license.

From Texas Standard:

Ranchers and cattlemen have some beef with U.S. meatpackers. They claim the meatpackers are purposefully driving down the price the cattle raisers get for their beef. In 2015, meatpackers started to pay ranchers less for their cattle. It would make sense then, that the price of ribeye in the supermarket would also drop around that time. But that didn't happen.

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln researcher has been testing hybrid wheat lines throughout Nebraska to determine their agronomic worth. The focus is on better wheat yield and agronomic performance and determining the genetic components that may be of value in future global climate change scenarios.

All Tom Geisler can see as he trudges through the mud is a big mess. High water from the March floods wrecked pretty much everything on his 1,000-acre farm in Hooper, Nebraska.

From Texas Standard:

Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture produces a count of all the country's farms, ranches, crops, livestock and anything else related to agriculture. It recently released data from its 2017 census and here are three things worth nothing:

Closed On Sundays: A Guide To Some Of Texas' Confusing Alcohol Regulations

Apr 19, 2019

Texas politicians love to portray the Lone Star State as a mecca for free-market capitalism and low regulation. But those lawmakers might want to take a gander at their state’s byzantine alcohol policies. 

From Texas Standard:

Most of the liquefied natural gas, or LNG, the U.S. exports leaves on big tanker ships. But with so much natural gas being produced right now, companies are seeking out other ways to move LNG internationally. In fact, at least one company has carved out a niche by shipping natural gas overland, tapping into a growing market south of the border.

Sergio Chapa reports on the oil and gas industry for the Houston Chronicle. He says the tankers transporting LNG are similar to the 18-wheelers that deliver gasoline or diesel, but much bigger.

The number of farms in the state continues to shrink while the average farm size increases. KGOU's Katelyn Howard joins Russell Ray, editor of The Journal Record, to make sense of this and other findings revealed in the latest Census of Agriculture report.

It’s been five years since the last ag census. Since 2012, the U.S. has lost about 70,000 farms, saw the average age of farmers go up and prices for certain commodities go down.

There are thousands of concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, around the United States, but no one knows the exact number.

Two Stanford University professors published research this week in the journal Nature Sustainability, saying there’s an easy way to count CAFOs: Teach a computer to do it for them.

Updated at 12:41 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is preparing to slap tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of imports from Europe, in retaliation for what it calls unfair subsidies of Airbus jets. The proposed tariffs would cover not only aircraft but also wine, cheese, woolen suits and other signature European products.

Meat and dairy are piling up across the U.S. It has cold storage places packed to the rafters, and the federal government, which subsidizes the agriculture industry, looking for ways to alleviate the problem, at least in the short-term.

Like many of the refugees who have resettled in Greeley, Colorado, 35-year-old Abul Basar is employed by JBS.

It’s a massive meatpacking plant that processes thousands of cattle per day and employs over 3,000 people. After a year of working on the plant’s processing line, where he disembowel cow carcasses with a large electric knife, Basar injured his right hand.

Wikipedia

Amazon and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce see potential in rural America — if internet access is improved. 

A fifth of rural businesses already sell the majority of their goods and services online—everything from cattle to bed-and-breakfast stays.

Farm income has taken a long, hard fall, dropping 50 percent since hitting a high point in 2013. Add to that near-record levels of farm debt, and you have a recipe for financial stress.

But while economists say they can see storm clouds building, it’s not a full-blown crisis. That’s because relatively few farms have been pushed past the breaking point into Chapter 12 bankruptcy — or, worse, into losing the farm entirely.

Farm Loan Delinquencies Reach Nine-Year High

Mar 10, 2019
Public Domain via PxHere

Farmers are failing to pay their loans at the highest rate in nearly a decade, Forbes reports.

The loan delinquencies appear to be due to declining crop prices, as well as tariffs put in place by the Trump administration. Nationwide, nearly 20 percent of farm loans were delinquent. That’s up from 16.5 percent last year.

Jonathan Baker

Shortly after noon on Wednesday, a large group gathered in the offices of CORE construction in downtown Amarillo to hear the announcement of a major new hotel development.

The Barfield Building, built in 1927, has been housing only pigeons for many years. Soon, the Barfield will be brought back to life, through the efforts of local developers, along with architects, designers and hoteliers from Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Dallas.

Kris Taylor was accepted into medical school. But instead of becoming a doctor, the Texan moved to California to pursue something he was really passionate about. Hemp.

On this week's Colorado Edition, we've got two stories about what's brewing in Colorado's beer scene (hint: there's something new and something very, very old). Plus, we take a closer look at the "skills gap" that could be holding the state economy back and meet a dance troupe that believes anyone and everyone can take part in the performing arts.

Whether it's corn, wheat or soybean, Kansas grows it. And given the importance of those crops to the United States economy, people who live in cities might be forgiven for thinking the Sunflower State's farmers have it made.

Paul Johnson, an organic farmer in Jefferson County, just northeast of Topeka, and a policy analyst for the Kansas Rural Center, says the situation in farmland is much more dire than most people know.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said this week that that a long-anticipated program for dairy farmers will be available June 17, with payments possibly coming as soon as early July.

Inside a Denver bottling plant, Keith Villa watches as rows and rows of 10-ounce silver bottles whisk by, all filled with a golden-colored Belgian-style ale called Grainwave.

It looks and tastes like beer. But instead of alcohol, there's 5 milligrams of THC mixed inside. That's the psychoactive compound in marijuana that gets you high.

Colorado used to be on top of the cannabis world. As legalization spreads both in the U.S. and abroad, a lack of investor capital here could be the industry’s undoing.

“Now we are chasing the wagon,” said Dean Heizer, the executive director and chief legal strategist of LivWell. “And we need to get back on the wagon, and we need to get enough capital so that we can actually start driving the wagon again. We are falling behind.”

Help Wanted: Elite Transportation—Drivers & Accounting

Feb 21, 2019

Elite Transportation is looking for applicants to fill multipile positions. First, they are looking for Skilled Drivers that have the ability to function well as part of a team. Second, they are looking for an Accounts Receivable Specialist.

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Former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke compared the national economy to a Looney Tunes character: magically floating in the air for a moment after running off a cliff before inevitably plummeting in 2020.

Public Domain via MaxPixel

The world’s biggest battery is being planned in an oil patch south of Lubbock, Texas, to little fanfare.

According to IndustryWeek, a news magazine that covers the manufacturing sector, the battery is being constructed by a little-known solar developer.

From Texas Standard:

You may have noticed a lot more dollar stores than you did just a few years ago. Since 2011, numbers of the discount stores have increased nationwide to about 30,000, up from about 20,000. Now, a new report says there are more dollar stores than Walmarts and McDonalds combined.

Copyright 2020 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The U.S. trade war with China, now approaching a year, is often framed as hurting manufacturing and agriculture the most. But that’s mainly collateral damage in an international struggle over power and technology that has its roots in the Cold War, when China was still considered a largely undeveloped country.

It's never been harder to hire long-haul truck drivers, even though companies are making the job more lucrative, less aggravating and more inclusive.

The driver shortage stretches back a quarter century, and lately a run-up in freight demand, staggeringly high turnover rates and waves of baby boomer retirements are compounding the problem.

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