Kansas contains no deserts as scientifically defined as barren areas with little rainfall. However, settlers in the 19th-century referred to parts of Kansas, along with areas of present-day New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Montana and Texas, as the Great American Desert.
Settlers called the area a desert because it initially appeared hostile to growing crops and livestock. As modern irrigation and farming practices took hold in the area, the "desert" became an important agricultural area in the United States. By the early 20th century, the region once referred to as the Great American Desert was commonly called The Great Plains, a name used to this day.