Industry in West Texas
There are significant resources within the State of Texas that are generated right
here in West Texas. People are already aware that most of the cotton grown and
produced comes from West Texas, but it might be a surprise to many that this
region makes a substantial contribution of other products to the economic benefit of
Texas and the United States.
|Product||% from West Texas to rest of State|
|Corn grain (bushels)||60.2%|
|Cotton, all (bales)||85.6%|
|Sunflower seeds (pounds)||98.0%|
|Wheat grain (bushels)||88.4%|
|Grapes, wine-producing (bearing acreage of land)||66%|
|Wind Energy (megawatts)||91.7%|
|Oil (on-shore production)||81%|
Agriculture has long been a staple of West Texas, form the vast fields of cotton in the South Plains to the flowing fields of grain in the Panhandle and Trans-Pecos region. Farmers have also taken advantage of the growing climate to produce a variety fruits and nuts: from pecans and peanuts to apples, peaches, and various varieties of melons.
However during the 1600’s the rootstock was planted for another type of crop to be grown in West Texas. It was during this time that Spanish missionaries started to cultivate grapes near present day El Paso for use in sacramental wines. The idea of vineyards as a cash crop took time to mature, as it would be almost 300 years before the first commercial vineyards were planted in West Texas. It was with those vineyards planted in 1970 outside of Lubbock, the Texas Wine Industry was born.
Currently Texas is home to eight American Viticultural Areas (AVA), and two of the largest growing regions in the nation. These viticultural areas are home to at least 15 Texas native Vitis. The sunny and dry climate of West Texas and the Panhandle serves as a prime growing region for the state, which accounts for roughly 66% of the bearing acreage in the state. These grapes help to support hundreds of wineries. The abundance of bearing vines has contributed to the medical and long-term health implications associated with grapes and grape products. In addition the area serves as a primary location for research related to the cultivation, production, and marketing of the Texas Wine Industry.
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Early West Texans used windmills for a variety of daily task: pumping water from the ground to water livestock, irrigate crops, and occasionally grind corn or wheat. As early as the 1920s, Americans started using small windmills to generate electricity in rural areas that were too distant from electrical service providers. During the 1930’s, most rural areas where connected to a service provider and no longer had to generate their own electricity using wind power.
As the oil shortages of the 1970’s crippled the country, the need to produce cheaper reliable forms energy skyrocketed, and the second wave of wind power occurred. During the following decades scientists worked to develop large wind turbines capable of generating electricity on a large scale. As other fuel sources experienced high prices and supply problems, wind power emerged as a potential to supplement electricity generation.
In 2010, wind power generated electricity in 38 states across the country, with overall rated capacity at more than 40,000 MW, and Texas is at the forefront of the wind energy revolution. Texas was the first state to reach the 10,000 MW nameplate capacity limit, with more installed capacity planned for the near future. No area has a larger impact on this form of clean energy than West Texas, which is currently home to the six largest wind farms in the United States. The installed capacity in the region currently has the potential to power between two and three million average homes a year. Windmills have long been the workhorses to pump life-giving water to sustain the region. Their mission has been modified over time, as people have developed new ways to harness that action for maximizing this renewable resource into electricity that has the potential to power community infrastructure.
COTTON PRODUCTION IN TEXAS
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The crops grown in the West Texas soil are as vast as the horizon; however cotton reins king over the fields of West Texas. Cotton production in Texas today accounts for almost 1/3 of the total production in the world, with the vast majority produced in a nine-county region around Lubbock, TX. These cotton fibers help to produce countless garments and other textile products that are used all across the world.
Living in the high cotton of West Texas, researchers have been afforded an opportunity to enhance and improve the quality and quantity of cotton fiber production. The focus of their research is not solely based around this theme; as researchers at Texas Tech University have been able to develop a low-cost decontamination technology, Fibertect. This revolutionary decontamination wipe although still in development, has already had a huge impact, as it was used in the cleanup of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
It is real world applications, such as Fibertect, in addition to the normal use in the textile industry that engrained cotton into our everyday lives and make it the official fabric of Texas.
For more information about cotton research at Texas Tech University please visit,
http://www.tiehh.ttu.edu/nonwoven_advanced_materials.html or http://www.pssc.ttu.edu/fbri_index.php
ONSHORE OIL PRODUCTION IN TEXAS
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Methodically moving up and down in unison pump jacks have long been a symbol of the oil industry in West Texas. The oil industry started from humble beginning out west as a number of individuals’ accidentally discovered oil as they drilled water wells. That all changed in 1921 as the first commercial oil well sprang up in Mitchell County. The industry did not surge until the outbreak of World War II, when exploration and production shot up as the demand intensified. The years following World War II, saw the West Texas oil industry mimic the motion of the pump jack, reaching ever higher into the sky only fall back down and then to rise again. Today, the oil fields in the Permian Basin and West Texas account for 81% of the total on-shore oil production in Texas.
These fields provide a valuable commodity to the region and the nation, and employee numerous West Texans; however the true value of this black gold cannot be measured only in barrels produced. The oil industry has provided the resources for countless foundations and a myriad of donations to universities, medical centers, and cultural programs. In turn, institutions have been able to develop numerous services that touch thousands of lives each day.
PEANUT PRODUCTION IN TEXAS
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CATTLE PRODUCTION IN TEXAS
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