Nebraska: The Silicon Prairie

The Cornhusker State provides a personable business climate with broad opportunities.

By Kyle Peschler
From the May / June 2024 Issue


According to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED), “Nebraska’s government is committed to making your business the best. Nebraska does this by passing legislation that removes the red tape and provides robust incentives to new and expanding businesses.”

By incentivizing businesses across the country, companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, PayPal, and many others have decided branch into Nebraska, becoming the state’s top employers. With many high tech and other types of companies expanding into Nebraska, the midwestern state has taken on the new nickname, “The Silicon Prairie.”

Nebraska: The Silicon Prairie
(Credit: Adobe Stock / Phairot)


The DED has stated that Nebraska earned a reputation for its skilled, hard-working, labor force — partly because they have one of the best educational systems in the nation. In 2021, Nebraska ranked #9 in the country for overall education (U.S. News & World Report) while consistently maintaining one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates. In 2023, Nebraska was ranked at #7 in the country for overall education (U.S. News & World Report). With higher education and Pre-K-12 both ranking at #11, the high school graduation rate was at 87.5%.

The state of Nebraska has one of the best high school graduation rates along with the best student-teacher ratio. Students get access to internships, mentorships, and industry certificates via Career Academies. Various schools participate in curriculums that prepare their students for opportunities in Nebraska’s economy.

Nebraska ranks lower than the national average on housing, utilities, transportation, and health costs, according to the DED. With living expenses lower than most states, Nebraska is not a simple flyover state: the Cornhusker State is now becoming “The Silicon Prairie.”

York County, NE Unveils New Industrial Site

York County Development Corporation (YCDC) is proud to unveil an exciting new venture: a sprawling 200-acre industrial site nestled within the heart of York County, NE. This endeavor has been made possible through a collaborative effort between YCDC and the City of York, who have joined forces to embark on a journey of site identification, acquisition, due diligence, and meticulous planning.

Nebraska: The Silicon Prairie
This conceptual design offers a glimpse into the planned Northwest York Industrial Park in York County, NE. (Credit: Olsson)

In the initial phase of this ambitious project, focus has been on conducting a comprehensive assessment of key factors. These factors include transportation, utilities, and environmental impact. Working in tandem, YCDC, the City of York, and the Olsson engineering firm have delved into an array of considerations, including existing ground elevations, wetlands analysis, and a review of threatened and endangered species habitats. These efforts have yielded multiple conceptual site plans, laying the foundation for future development endeavors.

Bolstering this endeavor is the generous support received from the Nebraska Public Power District, coupled with matching funds from the City of York. This financial backing has enabled the initiation of an additional layer of due diligence. This currently aims at further refining the site’s potential. Plans are underway to conduct an ALTA survey, a geotechnical investigation, and a comprehensive traffic study, all of which will provide invaluable insights into the site’s suitability for industrial development.

The prime location gives the industrial hub better accessibility. One of the standout features of this prime location is its strategic positioning between the York Airport and the Benedict Rail-Spur, with the bustling four-lane Highway 81 slicing through the site, effectively dividing it into two parcels. Moreover, the convenience of Interstate 80, located a mere 5½ miles to the south via Highway 81, adds another layer of accessibility and connectivity to this burgeoning industrial hub.

The preferred conceptual plan showcases an array of opportunities. With 13 potential sites earmarked for development, many boast the added advantage of being rail-served. Ranging from modest 8,000-square-foot structures to expansive facilities spanning 325,000 square feet, these conceptual designs offer a glimpse into the boundless potential of the Northwest York Industrial Park.

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Positive Track Record In Industrial Land Development

YCDC’s track record speaks volumes about its prowess in industrial land development. The success of their previous endeavors is evident in the swift sale of a 36-acre industrial site, which attracted the interest of three distinct businesses within just five years. These businesses, specializing in data mining, concrete crushing, and grain bin manufacturing, serve as testaments to the diverse array of opportunities that await prospective investors and entrepreneurs within York County.

As the wheels of progress turn, YCDC remains steadfast in its commitment to economic growth, innovation, and creating a vibrant industrial landscape that propels York County into the future. With due diligence and master planning as their guiding beacon, the possibilities are limitless for the Northwest York Industrial Park and the community it serves.

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