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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Brown County

Communities & Development

Brown County Seat: Ainsworth

Total County Population (2020): 2,903

  • Cities (pop. & class):  Ainsworth (1,616 • 2nd Class), Long Pine (305 • 2nd Class)
  • Villages: Johnstown (47)
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of county pop.): 935 (32%)

Land Development (2022) (% of total land in county):

  • Agriculture: 92% 
    • By method: Pasture (pure grassland) (83%), Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (0%), Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (9%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Corn 5%, Soybeans 2%, Livestock (grassland) 80%, Alfalfa 1% • USDA (NLCD) - equals agriculture's % plus some wetlands (6%) and some wooded grazing land (3%) and minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 4%
  • Timber: 4%

County Offices

Courthouse Address and Hours:

148 West 4th Street
Ainsworth, Nebraska 69210
M-F 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

County Board Chairperson: Raymond "Buddy" Small

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: 1st & 3rd Tuesday

View the County's Government Maps

Visit the County Fairgrounds

NACO District: Northeast

President: Lisa Lunz, Dixon County Supervisor 

Vice President: Sandy Zoubek, Stanton County Treasurer

Secretary: Katie Hart, Burt County Assessor

Treasurer: Krista Nix, Knox County Deputy Clerk 

NACO Board Representative: Bill Tielke, Holt County Supervisor 

Click for a live look at Brown County (NE Hwy 7 & Elsmere Rd)


Population: 2,903
Land area (sq. mi.): 1,211.36
Population per square mile: 2.4

Race & Age


White: 90.6%
African American: 0.1%
American Indian: 0.2%
Asian: 0.2%
Hispanic: 6.1%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Two or More Races: 2.8%


0-17: 21.7%
18-64: 52.4%
65+: 25.9%


Personal income per capita: $63,598
% of population in poverty: 10.8%
# of housing units: 1,642
Owner-occupied rate: 70.0%
Median home price: $100,520


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable model): 85.8%

Sources: National Association of RealtorsNebraska Library CommissionU.S. Bureau of Economic AnalysisU.S. Census Bureau

Employment, Schools, and Child Care

Unemployment rate: 2.0% (as of September 2022)

County Employment Website:

High school graduate or higher: 95.5%

School Districts: Ainsworth Community Schools, Keya Paha County Schools, Rock County Public Schools, Sandhills Public Schools, Valentine Community Schools

Bachelor's degree or higher: 24.2%

Community College Service Area: Northeast Community College

Countywide child care capacity: 12 providers; 134 children

Find child care: For a list of child care providers by zip code, visit Nebraska DHHS or the Nebraska Resource and Referral System.

Brown County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $197,581,000

Cattle Producers: 156

  • Pastureland Cash Rent (avg.): $27/acre

Crop Producers: 93

  • Dryland Cash Rent (avg.): $56/acre
  • Irrigated Land Cash Rent (avg.): $163/acre

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: Central Valley Ag, Pride Grain

Local Grain Market: Click for today's grain prices in Brown County

Electricity Providers: Custer PPD, KBR Rural PPD, Nebraska PPD

Wind Turbines Operating (MW): 36 turbines (59,400 MW total)

Rail-served Communities: Ayr, Gaines, Hastings, Hayland, Juniata, Kenesaw, Roseland

Well Locations (Irrigation/Livestock), Soils, Groundwater & Surface Water

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 1,247

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 27

Click for real time:

Stream data on Long Pine Creek near Riverview

Groundwater level data along NE Hwy 7 four miles south of Ainsworth

Groundwater level data near S. Pine Ave. & Cattleman Rd. (23 mi. southeast of Ainsworth)

Sources: National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA), Nebraska Cooperative CouncilNebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary EducationNebraska Department of TransportationNebraska Office of the CIONebraska Power Review BoardU.S. Bureau of Economic AnalysisU.S. Bureau of Labor StatisticsU.S. Census Bureau

2022 Levies and Valuations

County levy rate: $0.2810 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $2,794,790

Total local government property taxes levied: $12,180,205

Total countywide taxable valuation: $994,673,446

Federal PILT payment to Brown County (FY2022): $2,767 regarding 942 federally-owned acres

Click here for all levy rates in Brown County

County Levy and Taxation Laws

Levy limits

Since 1996, counties and other political subdivisions have been subject to the levy limits listed in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-3442 and Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-3443.

Statutes and regulations

Nebraska Revised Statutes (Chapter 77)

Nebraska Administrative Code (Title 350)

Local tax reductions, exemptions, and credits:

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 76-902(5)(a) (Deed "stamp tax" exemption): "The [stamp tax] shall not apply to: ... (5)(a) Deeds between spouses, between ex-spouses for the purpose of conveying any rights to property acquired or held during the marriage, or between parent and child, without actual consideration therefor."

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-201(2) (Valuation of agricultural land and horticultural land): "Agricultural land and horticultural land as defined in section 77-1359 shall constitute a separate and distinct class of property for purposes of property taxation, shall be subject to taxation, unless expressly exempt from taxation, and shall be valued at seventy-five percent of its actual value, except that for school district taxes levied to pay the principal and interest on bonds that are approved by a vote of the people on or after January 1, 2022, such land shall be valued at fifty percent of its actual value."

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-6703(1) (Tax credit for school district taxes paid): "(1) For taxable years beginning or deemed to begin on or after January 1, 2020, under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, there shall be allowed to each eligible taxpayer a refundable credit against the income tax imposed by the Nebraska Revenue Act of 1967 or against the franchise tax imposed by sections 77-3801 to 77-3807. The credit shall be equal to the credit percentage for the taxable year, as set by the department under subsection (2) of this section, multiplied by the amount of school district taxes paid by the eligible taxpayer during such taxable year."

Sources: Nebraska Department of Revenue

State Senator: Tom Brewer (District 43)

Standing Committees (click for scheduled committee hearings):

Special Committees:

  • State-Tribal Relations

Map and statistics for Legislative District 43

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Brown County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 1

Year Authorized: 1883

Year Organized: 1883

Etymology: Disputed; Brown family (early Nebraska settlers); legislators who sponsored bill creating the county

     The exact origin of Brown County’s name is disputed, as several early settlers and senators who sponsored the county’s creation bore the last name of Brown. Although on the northeast edge of the Sandhills, Brown County was once part of an organized territory that stretched as far west as Sioux County. In 1883, Brown County was organized, only to be divided in half in 1888, giving rise to adjacent Rock County. 

     The early years of Brown County were characteristic of many counties in the Sandhills, namely, residents were largely ranchers and cowboys, veterans of the dwindling cattle drives in the late 1880’s. Later, covered wagons and various railroad lines introduced farmers who would later grow award-winning wheat in the region. Ainsworth (named for an engineer who help bring the railroad to the region) became the county seat in 1883, firmly establishing the city as a central place of commerce in north central Nebraska. 

     Today, Brown County continues that proud farming and ranching tradition. In the county seat of Ainsworth, the Nebraska Sandhills Cowboy Hall of Fame celebrates the people who carry on that important way of life.

Highlight an important program in your county in this space! Send an email to:

Local Highlights

License Plate Number: 75

Time Zone: Central

Zoned County: Yes

Number of Veterans: 182

County Hospital: Brown County Hospital

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 46

Number of County-Owned Dams: 1

Election Data

General Election Turnout % (2022): 54.24%

Total Registered Voters (2020): 2,123

Number of Precincts (2020): 3

Number of Election Day Polling Places (2020): 1

Land Area per Polling Place (2020): 1,211.36 sq. miles

Intergovernmental Data

Emergency Mgt. Planning, Exercise and Training (PET) Region: North Central/Sandhills

Natural Resource Districts: Middle Niobrara NRD, Upper Loup NRD

State Lands (acres): American Game Marsh WMA (160.55), Bobcat WMA (893), Keller WMA (640), Keller Park SRA (196), Long Pine WMA (160), Long Pine SRA (154), Pine Glen WMA (960), Plum Creek Valley WMA (1,320), South Pine WMA (442.96), Willow Lake B.C. WMA (511), Yellowthroat WMA (480)

Sources: Nebraska Department of Transportation, Nebraska Emergency Management AgencyNebraska Game & Parks CommissionNebraska LegislatureNebraska Office of the CIONebraska Secretary of StateU.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (eCFR)