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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Clay County

Communities & Development

Clay County Seat: Clay Center

Total County Population (2020): 6,104

  • Cities (pop. & class): Clay Center (735 • 2nd Class), Edgar (428 • 2nd Class), Fairfield (330 • 2nd Class), Harvard (951 • 2nd Class), Sutton (1,447 • 2nd Class)
  • Villages (pop.): Deweese (42), Glenvil (260), Ong (49), Saronville (35), Trumbull (194)
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of county pop.): 1,444 (24%)

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

  • Agriculture: 82%
    • By method: Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (62%); Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (13%); Pasture (pure grassland) (6%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Corn 48%, Soybeans 27%, Livestock (grassland) 14%, Alfalfa 2% • USDA - equals agriculture's % plus some wetlands (2%) and minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 18%

County Offices

Courthouse Address and Hours:

111 West Fairfield Street
Clay Center, Nebraska 68933
M-F 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

County Board Chairperson: L. Wayne Johnson

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: Last 3 Tuesdays of each month

View the County's Government Maps

Visit the County Fairgrounds

NACO District: Central

District President: Carrie Miller, Nuckolls County Clerk, Register of Deeds, Election Commissioner

District Vice President: Kali Bolli, Garfield County Assessor 

District Secretary/Treasurer: Cara Snider Wheeler County Clerk

NACO Board Representatives: Bill Maendele, Buffalo County Commissioner

Click for a live look at Clay County (south of Clay Center)


Population: 6,104
Land area (sq. mi.): 572.29
Population per square mile: 10.7

Race & Age


White: 88.0%
African American: 0.1%
American Indian: 0.2%
Asian: 0.2%
Hispanic: 8.6%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Two or More Races: 2.7%


0-17: 24.8%
18-64: 54.0%
65+: 21.2%


Personal income per capita: $63,915
% of Population in Poverty: 9.1%
# of Housing Units: 2,817
Owner-occupied rate: 78.5%
Median home price: $121,070


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 69.9%

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

Employment, Schools, and Child Care

Unemployment rate: 1.8% (as of September 2022)

County Employment Website:

High school graduate or higher: 92.8%

School Districts: Adams Central Public Schools, Bruning-Davenport Public Schools, Doniphan-Trumbull Public Schools, Harvard Public Schools, Sandy Creek Public Schools, Sutton Public Schools, Shickley Public Schools

Bachelor's degree or higher: 19.9%

Community College Service Area: Central Community College

Countywide child care capacity: 9 providers; 163 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.

Clay County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $337,581,000

Cattle Producers: 119

  • Pastureland Cash Rent (avg.): $35/acre/yr

Crop Producers: 283

  • Irrigated Land Cash Rent (avg.): $285/acre/yr

Dairy Producers: 1

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: AGP, Aurora Cooperative, CPI

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

Electricity Providers: City of Hastings, City of Sutton, Perennial PPD, South Central PPD, Southern PPD

Rail-served Communities: Edgar, Fairfield, Glenvil, Harvard, Inland, Saronville, Sutton

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

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 2,431

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 204

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: $0.2866 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $6,220,801

Total local government property taxes levied: $29,013,118

Total countywide taxable valuation: $2,170,390,088

Click here for all levy rates in Clay 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: Dave Murman (District 38)

Standing Committees (click for scheduled committee hearings): 

Select Committees:

  • Committee on Committees

Map and statistics for Legislative District 38

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Clay County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 12

Year Authorized: 1855

Year Organized: 1871

Etymology: Henry Clay (U.S. Senator and Congressman)

     Clay County was established in 1867 and was named after Henry Clay, a statesman and politician from Kentucky known as the "Great Compromiser." The first settlers in Clay County were homesteaders who arrived in the late 1800s, attracted to the fertile soil. The county quickly became an agricultural center, producing crops such as corn, wheat, and oats.

     In 1857, the Pony Express established a station in the county along the Little Blue River, bolstering a steady influx of settlers to the region. In the early 1860’s, the county achieved a sufficient population to warrant official organization and the election of local officials. Originally, Sutton was selected as the county seat, but within a decade, a relocation debate began. The county entertained several ideas, but eventually, officials selected Clay Center as the county seat due to its centralized location.

     The next few decades witnessed a minor population explosion. In 1870, Clay County had 54 residents, but by 1890, the population had grown to over 16,000. The railroad brought considerable development to the region and provided essential infrastructure for transporting farmers’ crops to a wide range of markets. Agriculture remains an important part of Clay County today, but conservation and ecotourism are also priorities; the county has sixteen protected wildlife areas.

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Local Highlights

License Plate Number: 30

Time Zone: Central

Number of Veterans: 418

Zoned County: Yes

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 115

Number of County-Owned Dams: 2

Election Data

General Election Turnout % (2022): 68.57%

Total Registered Voters (2020): 4,271

Number of Precincts (2020): 11

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

Intergovernmental Data

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

Natural Resource Districts: Little Blue NRD, Upper Big Blue NRD

State Lands (acres): Bluewing WMA (314.26), Bulrush WMA (240), Greenhead WMA (60), Green Wing WMA (80), Kissinger Basin WMA (485.84), South Central Ag Lab (640), White Front WMA (280.83)

Federal Lands (acres): Eckhardt WPA (175.21), Glenville Basin WPA (119.46), Green Acres WPA (63.66), Hansen WPA (642), Harms WPA (60), Harvard Marsh WPA (1,484), Hultine WPA (1,000), Lange WPA (158.76), Massie WPA (853), Meadowlark WPA (80), Moger WPA (196.70), Schuck WPA (80), Smith WPA (565), Theesen WPA (80.29), U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (36,350), Verona WPA (160)

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)