When you hear about Nebraska you will often hear that it is a flyover state as not a lot of people actually stop here. Not a lot of people are fond of Nebraska, as life in this state might seem extremely boring. In my opinion, this is one of the main reasons why Nebraska is an excellent off-grid state. The population is fairly low at around 1.9 million, and the population is scattered around in two “bigger cities” and the rest live in smaller cities and towns.
Living off the grid in Nebraska is legal, some would even say that this is one of the best off grid states. The local climate is well suited for growing different types of crops, on top of this the price of land and cost of living is also fairly cheap. The negative aspect of living off the grid in this state is that the property tax is higher than the national average and the crime rate in some areas is also higher than the national average.
If you want to live off the grid in Nebraska then you should be growing crops as soon as possible, my personal recommendation is to use a rainwater barrel that has spigots to harvest rainwater for watering your crops Click here to check it out on Amazon.com
There are two cities that have a relatively high population when you compare it to the other ones, namely Omaha with around 450k people and Lincoln with around 280k people. As you can see the vast majority of people live in smaller towns and cities and only around 730k people live in the two biggest cities. Currently, the population is slowly growing, but not because people are rushing to move into this state but due to the high birth rate. If you are a big fan of trains then you will love this state, as it has the biggest train yard not from the country but from the entire world.
One thing you have probably heard about Nebraska is that there are wheat and cornfields all over the place, which is true as a lot of the land is fairly fertile and ideal to grow different crops. The one thing that a lot of people complain about in Nebraska is that life is fairly lonely as there are only small communities if you live outside the cities. Although if you want to live off the grid then this should be a major bonus. Before deciding to move to Nebraska take a look at South Dakota also for more information check out my recent article Off grid living in South Dakota ( Easy Living? ).
Nebraska has a humid continental climate, which is normal for this region. What it means that the summers are hot and the winters are cold, and the high humidity persists all year round. The average temperature during summertime is around 85°F, and during the wintertime, they are around 10°F. Although if you live up north then you probably wouldn’t consider Nebraska as having cold winters, but as this state is fairly flat the wind is almost constantly blowing.
The climate is fairly similar to Kentucky, for more information check out my recent article Off grid living in Kentucky ( The Bluegrass State ).
Best crops to grow in Nebraska
Nebraska is an ideal state for growing crops, its main crop is corn which is grown both as animal feed and as food for humans, in addition to this you can also grow wheat, different grains, potatoes, and beans. One of the most important aspects when looking for a good off-grid state is what kind of crops you can grow, for growing crops Nebraska is one of the best states.
Freshwater availability in Nebraska
There are plenty of lakes and rivers crossing through Nebraska, but by far the best place to get water is from the ground. Nebraska sits right on top of the biggest aquifer in the country, it is called the Ogallala Aquifer and it is bigger than some countries, it stretches from South Dakota all the way down to Texas. Although currently there is plenty of water in the aquifer, it does have one massive problem, that it is fossil water.
Fossil water is basically very old water, and the main difference between fossil water and groundwater is that fossil water isn’t replenished at the same rate as groundwater. Once the water from this aquifer is used up it will take around 6000 years to refill it naturally with rainwater. On top of that, you can also harvest rainwater as Nebraska gets plenty of rain and snow. If you want to take a look at one of the neighboring states then check out my recent article Off grid living in Iowa ( Cheap land & Plenty of Corn ).
Nebraska doesn’t have such a big hunting scene, although you will find here white-tailed deer, elk, prairie dogs, river otters, and even bobcats. In Nebraska’s rivers and lakes you will also find several catfish like the blue catfish, and the flathead catfish, other types of fish are bluegills and white bass. Permits are needed for both activities and you can even get them online, although odds are that the website isn’t working, and this is true for all states not just Nebraska http://outdoornebraska.gov/permithelp/.
Generating power off the grid in Nebraska
- Solar power: The state of Nebraska is great for solar power, and there is a quickly rising industry meeting the local demand. Currently, there is a 30% federal tax credit which will ease the cost of setting up the solar power system. As the state is considered fairly flat you will have plenty of sunshine all day, both during summer and the winter, as there are no big hills blocking the sun’s rays it will allow you to generate a lot of power.
- Wind power: Generating power with wind is also possible in this state, especially as it is so flat. The incentive for wind power is the same as for solar power which is a 30% tax cut.
Nebraska off grid laws
There are no laws prohibiting you to live off the grid and you can also harvest rainwater legally. When it comes to homeschooling it is fairly simple you have to file an exemption under Rule 13 and this is valid for all children between the ages of 6 to 18. Overall the laws regarding homeschooling are not that strict, especially as a lot of people live fairly far from the nearest school.
Nebraska price of land
The price of land in Nebraska is fairly cheap, although the price can go up a fair bit if the land already has crops like corn growing on it. Corn is big business in Nebraska, so if you want a small plot of land just to live off the grid and grow crops to feed your family you should probably look at an area that doesn’t have any crops growing on it as it will be cheaper.
Nebraska road access
As the state is fairly flat there is no problem with road access, both during the summer and wintertime. One thing you might not like is the traffic jams caused by agricultural equipment, which you will often come across while traveling between the smaller cities and towns.
Nebraska property tax
The property tax in Nebraska is very high, at 1.8%, and when you compare it to the national average which is 1.08% there is a massive difference. If you just look one state over, in South Dakota the property tax is only 1.32%. Overall there is not a lot of differences between Nebraska and South Dakota, except the massive difference between the property tax. In some counties, you might find that the property tax is even higher at 2% in certain cases.
Nebraska cost of living
The cost of living in Nebraska is around 11% lower than the average cost of living in the country, so it kind of evens out with the high property tax. Housing is around 27% cheaper than in the rest of the country which is a big plus in my eyes, in addition to this you will also pay a lot less for transportation and groceries as well.
Currently, the unemployment rate is around 3% which is standard for the neighboring states as well. It probably won’t surprise you that one of Nebraska’s biggest industries is agriculture, followed by the renewable energy sector and you can also find jobs in smaller industries like health, education, finance, local manufacturing, and even IT. The minimum wage per hour is $9 which is above the national average which is at $7.50.
Nebraska crime rate
Nebraska’s crime rate is a bit higher than the national average, as it has around 5.35 violent crimes per 1000 people and the national average is around 4 per 1000 people. Although the crime rate is fairly higher than the national average, this shouldn’t scare you as this high number is mostly due to the cities of Omaha and Lincoln, smaller cities and towns are a lot safer in general.
Nebraska natural disasters
Nebraska has more or less the same natural disasters as its surrounding neighbors, floods, storms, and tornadoes, although this shouldn’t surprise you as Nebraska is in tornado alley. During the summertime heatwaves can sometimes occur and a lot of thunderstorms.
Nebraska is a great place for living off the grid, there are several off-grid communities already well established in some of the counties. The land is cheap, it is a great place to grow crops and the cost of living is also cheap, other than the high property tax rate and the high crime rate in some counties there are not a lot of negatives when it comes to off-grid living.