The greatest share of mining activities in the state is focused on crushed stone, sand and gravel, and portland cement. Limestone, which is used for liming soils and in several cement plants, is produced in a number of eastern counties. Petroleum accounted for one-quarter of the state’s income from mineral production in 1997, but the state does not rank high nationally in oil production. Red Willow, Kimball, Cheyenne, and Banner counties in western Nebraska produce most of the state’s petroleum. Nebraska has very little lumber production, mostly from small operations in the northwest.
Food processing is by far Nebraska’s most important industry, accounting for one-fourth of the state’s industrial income annually. The leading food-processing industry is meat-packing. Other food products include canned and frozen fruits and vegetables, flour, cereal, beverages, dairy products, livestock feeds, vegetable oils, and pasta. Corn processing yields a variety of products.
Other leading industries produce instruments, chemicals and drugs, machinery, and electrical equipment. Many of these industries are associated with agriculture; the state is an important producer of irrigation equipment and farm machinery. Printing and publishing are significant. Nebraska also produces transportation equipment, rubber and plastic goods, fabricated metals, and primary metals. Omaha is the chief manufacturing center. The second most important center is Lincoln.
Nebraska’s entire electrical power system is publicly owned. Most of the farms were electrified with the assistance of the Rural Electrification Administration (REA). Thermal power plants burning fossil fuels, primarily coal, generate 68 percent of Nebraska’s electricity. Another 28 percent of Nebraska’s electricity is generated by nuclear power plants at Brownville and Fort Calhoun. The state’s small share of hydroelectric power comes from the Bureau of Reclamation’s dams on the Missouri River, in addition to hydroelectric plants in Colorado and Wyoming. The largest hydroelectric power plant in the state is located at Gavins Point.
The Platte River valley has served as the major route across the Great Plains since the establishment of the Oregon Trail and Mormon Trail. The Union Pacific Railroad, U.S. Highway 30, and National Interstate Highway 80 all parallel the Platte. Several major railroads cross the state, and in 2004 trackage totaled 5,597 km (3,478 mi). Farm products account for 65 percent of the freight originating in the state. Much of the freight passing through the state by rail is coal, being hauled from mines in Montana and Wyoming to Midwest power plants. By 2007 Nebraska had 150,310 km (93,398 mi) of public roads and highways. There were 774 km (481 mi) of national interstate highways. By 2009 there were 9 airports in the state. The majority of them were privately owned. Nearly 1.7 million passengers passed through the airport in Omaha in 1996. "Nebraska" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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