Nebraska preppers face many of the same threats as anyone else in America: civil collapse, EMP, natural disasters, etc. However, Cornhuskers have unique challenges than preppers in other states. What makes sense for a prepper in New Hampshire may not make sense for a prepper in Montana. This applies to Nebraska as well.
NOTE: Do you live in Nebraska? You know your state, so let us know in the comments section how this article can be improved. What did we miss? What did we get right?
Nebraska Overview – Prepper’s Perspective
Thanks to ConAgra, a Fortune 500 giant, and miles upon miles of prairies, Nebraska’s top industry is food manufacturing. Omaha is home to Union Pacific Railroad, another Fortune 500 company, that helps transport manufactured products throughout the US. Together, the two manage to help Nebraska feed the nation while fueling the state’s economy. Other leading industries in the state include healthcare and financial services, symbolized by Nebraska’s most famous companies Berkshire Hathaway and Mutual of Omaha.
Food security in a collapse is largely a non issue in Nebraska provided you don’t mind working for it. Annually, agriculture production contributes more than $25 billion to Nebraska’s economy. The state has 49,100 farms spread across 45 million acres. Farms and ranches use up 92% of Nebraska’s land area. Not only does the state have a large agricultural sector and is a large producer of pork, beef, corn, wheat, sorghum, and soybeans, but it also is the home to all of the great American big game animals. There are even some buffalo still wandering around Nebraska in certain areas, but largely on private land.
Water is also pretty easy to secure in Nebraska. The average annual precipitation is 27 inches. Snowfall on average is 28 inches. Due to the High Plains Aquifer, Nebraska has more groundwater than any other state. For Cornhuskers planning to bug in, having an electric, but solar powered well would be a fantastic way to have the convenience of flowing water independent from any municipal system.
Nebraska Natural Disasters
Nebraska is a bit all over the map when it comes to disasters. Nebraska experiences tornadoes, floods, winter storms, wildfires, extreme heat and droughts, earthquakes, and landslides. However, the state’s main natural disaster includes torrential rain, hail, thunderstorms, dust storms, and strong winds. Nebraska experiences 45 to 50 stormy days with heavy rainfall. Thunderstorms mean lightning, and the state ranks as one of the top states in the US for lightning strikes.
1) The 1913 Easter Tornado – Far before there were early warning and detection systems available, a massive tornado ripped through the heart of Nebraska. Killing 103, this ¼ mile long tornado ripped right through several residential neighborhoods. In one of the most epic tornado destruction paths ever, there was a trail of 800 homes destroyed and another 2000 were damaged.
2) The Dust Bowl (1930s) – In one of the most iconic natural disasters that managed to shape an entire decade of American life, the Dust Bowl reshaped Nebraska. Deaths are estimated to be in the thousands as a result of this disaster. Dust pneumonia, not being able to breathe due to the dust, was one of the primary culprits.
3) 1935 Republican River Flood – As with many states, floods often top the charts with death and destruction. Nebraska is no different. Given the state’s full aquifers and flat topography, it is only natural that floods will happen. The Republican River flood is the most destructive in Nebraska history. Ninety-four people were killed after nearly two feet of rain fell.
4) The Hotel Pathfinder Explosion (1976) – Despite Nebraska’s sparse population, it is not without manmade disasters. After an uncoupled underground gas line exploded in 1976, 20 were killed and 40 were injured. This deadly fireball serves as an example of how poor engineering and maintenance can result in high body counts and devastated property.
Nebraska is blessed to have relentless wind and bright sunshine. This can be a blessing if properly harnessed. Having a small array of solar panels or a windmill will allow you to keep the lights on when everyone else’s go out. One of the great things about Nebraska is how easy it is to get completely off the grid. Other states’ topography don’t allow for the reliable creation of power like this, so Cornhuskers should harness the power.
While there are definitely good things about living in Nebraska, one of the challenges is surviving storms and sweltering heat. Yet, many of the first settlers of the state had a strategy that fell out of style, but is still valid today. Living in the side of hills or a dugout shelter increases insulation and safety. For Nebraska preppers, this is worth noting. Not only will you be safe from some of the strongest storms in the nation, but you will likely reduce your power consumption substantially.
Get a Well
While Nebraska has plenty of water, it is also prone to the occasional drought. This mostly affects surface water and the aquifers will likely not run out in our lifetime. Therefore, it would make sense to get off the grid with your very own electric well or hand-drilled well. Having your out spigot to the aquifer will allow you to avoid a monthly water bill, and secure your water source in a prolonged power outage where municipal water systems eventually fail. When SHTF you don’t want to be reliant on a municipal water supply to keep you alive.
One of the most important pieces of equipment for any prepper planning to bug out is a decent map of their state. Having an identified bug out location is crucial. All preppers in any state should begin their bug out plans with a paper map of their state. Nothing is better for all-purpose use than the DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer.
When bugging out, you will want to have an archery set up of some variety. While many people dream of killing a big Nebraska buck, you will likely encounter small game far before you see anything else. Owning a survival .22 rifle or squirrel gun with a healthy stack of bulk ammo means you can secure meat for the stew pot.
Stay Near Creeks
In the event you need to bug out in Nebraska through forests, find a low lying creek and stick with it. Following creeks will help you stay safe from storms since you will be at a low spot in the terrain (unless it’s flash floods). Creeks also have game coming in for water, so you have opportunities to use that survival rifle in addition to using the same water source.
Bikes Are an Option
Rarely is a bicycle recommended for a bug out, but in Nebraska, they are a godsend. Not only are they 98% efficient, but they are silent, simple, and easy to transport if you need to cross a body of water. Given that the state is very flat with a well-developed road system, a good mountain bike can help you cover a lot of ground quickly.
Further Reading for Nebraska Preppers
Nebraska Primitive, Bushcraft, and Outdoors Skills Group – A Facebook group that focuses on outdoors skill development and networking.
Homesteading in Nebraska and the Surrounding Midwest – A Facebook group focused on homesteading in the state of Nebraska.
88 Tactical– Bushcraft, tactical, and prepping courses offered in Nebraska.
Woodsong Wilderness – Taught by two-time “Alone” contestant and one-time winner, Woodsong teaches people to survive.
Nebraska Emergency Management Agency – Nebraska state department responsible for responding to disasters.