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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Cedar County

Communities & Development

Cedar County Seat:  Hartington

Total County Population (2020): 8,380

  • Cities (pop. & class): Hartington (1,517 • 2nd Class), Laurel (972 • 2nd Class), Randolph (879 • 2nd Class)
  • Villages (pop.): Belden (113), Bow Valley (116), Coleridge (537), Fordyce (134), Magnet (43), Obert (22), St. Helena (89), Wynot (216)
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of county pop.): 3,858 (46%)

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

  • Agriculture: 88%
    • By method: Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (43%); Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (31%); Pasture (pure grassland) (14%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Corn 41%, Soybeans 27%, Livestock (grassland) 17%, Alfalfa 5%, Oats 1%, Other Hay 1% • USDA (NLCD) - equals agriculture's % plus some wetlands (1%) and minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 9%
  • Timber: 3%

County Offices

Courthouse Address and Hours:

101 South Broadway Avenue
Hartington, Nebraska 68739
M-F 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

County Board Chairperson: David McGregor

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: 2nd & 4th 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 Cedar County (east of Magnet)


Population: 8,380
Land area (sq. mi.): 740.24
Population per square mile: 11.3

Race & Age


White: 95.6%
African American: 0.3%
American Indian: 0.2%
Asian: 0.1%
Hispanic: 2.2%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Two or More Races: 1.6%


0-17: 25.7%
18-64: 51.9%
65+: 22.4%


Personal income per capita: $66,572
% of Population in Poverty: 8.5%
# of Housing Units: 3,900
Owner-occupied rate: 80.6%
Median home price: $143,860


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 70.8%

Sources: National Association of RealtorsNebraska Library Commission, U.S. Bureau of Economic AnalysisU.S. Census Bureau

Employment, Schools, and Child Care

Unemployment rate: 1.6% (as of September 2022)

County Employment Website:

High school graduate or higher: 93.5%

School Districts: Hartington Newcastle Public Schools, Laural-Concord-Coleridge School, Randolph Public Schools, Wausa Public Schools, Wynot Public Schools

Bachelor's degree or higher: 21.0%

Community College Service Area: Northeast Community College

Countywide child care capacity: 10 providers; 237 children

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

Cedar County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $447,683,000

Cattle Producers: 364

  • Pastureland Cash Rent (avg.): $64/acre

Crop Producers: 287

  • Dryland Cash Rent (avg.): $222/acre
  • Irrigated Land Cash Rent (avg.): $319/acre

Dairy Producers: 13

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: Central Valley Ag, Farmers Pride, Farmer's Union Co-op, Fordyce Farmer's Coop Elevator

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

Electricity Providers: Cedar-Knox PPD, City of Laurel, City of Randolph, Nebraska PPD

Rail-served Communities: Belden, Laurel, Randolph

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

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 2,046

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 82

Click for real time:

Streamflow data on Bow Creek near Wynot

Streamflow data on the Missouri River near Saint James

Groundwater level data at U.S. Hwy 20 & 57th Ave. (3 mi. northeast of Laurel)

Sources: National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA), Nebraska Cooperative Council, Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary EducationNebraska Department of TransportationNebraska Office of the CIO, Nebraska Power Review Board, U.S. Bureau of Economic AnalysisU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau

2022 Levies and Valuations

County levy rate: $0.2556 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $6,722,445

Total local government property taxes levied: $31,795,119

Total countywide taxable valuation: $2,630,791,693

Federal PILT payment to Cedar County (FY2022): $11,889 regarding 4,047 federally-owned acres

Click here for all levy rates in Cedar 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)

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: Barry DeKay (District 40)

Standing Committees (click for scheduled committee hearings): 

Special Committees: 

  • State-Tribal Relations (vice-chairperson)
  • Justice Reinvestment Oversight
  • Statewide Tourism and Recreation Water Access and Resource Sustainability

Map and statistics for Legislative District 40

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Cedar County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 14

Year Authorized: 1857

Year Organized: 1857

Etymology: Eastern red cedar

     Cedar County, located in the northeastern part of Nebraska, has a rich history that spans over 150 years. From its early days as a frontier territory to its modern-day status as a thriving agricultural center, Cedar County has a proud and storied heritage still celebrated today.

     Before European settlers arrived in Cedar County, the area was home to several Native American tribes, including the Omaha, Ponca, and Yankton Sioux tribes. These tribes lived in the area for hundreds of years and had a deep spiritual connection to the land. They relied on hunting, fishing, and gathering for their subsistence and were skilled farmers who grew crops such as corn, beans, and squash.

     The first European settlers arrived in Cedar County in the late 1850s, attracted by the fertile soil, abundant water resources, and lush vegetation. These settlers established farms and ranches and built homes and communities. Subsequently, the county experienced rapid growth and development during the late 1800s and early 1900s as more and more people moved into the area.

     One of the most significant events in the history of Cedar County was the construction of the Fremont, Elkhorn, and Missouri Valley Railroad, which was completed in 1887. The railroad provided a crucial transportation link between Cedar County and the rest of the state, and was a major factor in the county's growth and development. The railroad brought new settlers and businesses into the area and made it easier to transport goods and products to other markets.

     The creation of the Cedar County Fair, first held in 1875, was another important local event. The fair was a major gathering place for farmers and ranchers in the county, and provided an opportunity to show off their products and compete for prizes. Today, the Cedar County Fair is still held annually and is one of the largest and most popular events in the county.

     Cedar County is known for its rich agricultural heritage, reflected in the many farms and ranches that can be found throughout the county. Agriculture has always been the county's main industry, and the fertile soil and abundant water resources have made it an ideal location for farming and ranching. The county is a major producer of crops, such as corn, soybeans, and wheat, and is also home to a thriving livestock industry.

     The county has also been home to many influential and notable individuals throughout its history. One of the most important figures in the county's history is Charles Augustus Bennet, who was a prominent businessman and politician. Bennet was a founding member of the Fremont, Elkhorn, and Missouri Valley Railroad and played a key role in the county's development. Another notable individual is Frank L. Johnson, who was a prominent rancher and civic leader in the county.

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Local Highlights

License Plate Number: 13

Time Zone: Central

Number of Veterans: 521

Zoned County: Yes

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 237

Number of County-Owned Dams: 2

Election Data

General Election Turnout % (2022): 69.98%

Total Registered Voters (2020): 5,774

Number of Precincts (2020): 13

Number of Election Day Polling Places (2020): All Voting by Mail

Intergovernmental Data

Emergency Mgt. Planning, Exercise and Training (PET) Region: Northeast

Natural Resource Districts: Upper Loup NRD

State Lands (acres): Chalkrock WMA (145), Wiseman WMA (379.6)

Federal Lands (acres): Audubon Bend (2,372), Bow Creek Recreation Area (200), Green Island Recreation Area (60), Goat Island Recreation Area (800)

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)