Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2001


Published in Great Plains Research 11:2 (Fall 2001). Copyright © 2001 Center for Great Plains Studies.


The Great Plains economy is influenced much more by federal spending and taxation than is the nation as a whole. Results were generated from analyzing federal fiscal activities at three different levels: a state-by-state analysis, an analysis of the 478-county region, and an analysis by county category for two Great Plains states (Nebraska and South Dakota). In several Great Plains states, federal spending represents well in excess of 25% of the state's economic activity. Federal spending, especially farm program payments, are of particular significance to nonmetropolitan counties in the Great Plains. This level of federal dependency, coupled with recent and proposed changes in federal programs and policies, make this a critical time for Great Plains residents and their advocates and political leaders. Much additional research is needed to help inform the relevant constituencies regarding the scope and importance of federal programs to the Great Plains region.