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Many were recruited for or attracted by job opportunities provided by the meatpacking plants in Lexington, Dakota City, and Omaha.
These groups together made up about one-tenth of the total population in the early 21st century.
With many small lakes and luxuriant grasses, the Sand Hills area is a superb rangeland.
Elevation in Nebraska rises from a minimum of 840 feet (256 metres) above Nebraska lies within the Missouri River drainage system; the Platte, the major Nebraska tributary, joins the Missouri south of Omaha.
Average January temperatures vary from the mid-20s F (about −4 °C) in the panhandle to about 20 °F (−7 °C) in the northeast.
The average is about 170 days in the southeast and 130 days in the panhandle.
Cottonwood, elm, and some oak and walnut are found along the bluffs of eastern Nebraska, while conifers grow in the Wild Cat and Pine Ridge highlands and the Niobrara valley.
Likewise, there are significant climatic variations from eastern Nebraska to the central and westernmost regions.
The average annual precipitation varies from more than 30 inches (750 mm) in the southeast to less than 16 inches (400 mm) in the extreme west.
Since a minimum of 20 inches (500 mm) is usually considered necessary for normal crop production, about one-half of Nebraska may be considered semiarid.
Although shallow and unnavigable, the Platte is vital to the state’s irrigation.
The river is formed by the confluence of the North and South Platte rivers, both of which rise in Colorado to the southwest, although the , a swift-moving stream that rises in the high country just west of the Wyoming border, flows across extreme northern Nebraska.