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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Custer County

Communities & Development

Custer County Seat: Broken Bow

Total County Population (2020): 10,545

  • Cities (pop. & class): Broken Bow (3,506 • 2nd Class), Sargent (500 • 2nd Class)
  • Villages (pop.): Anselmo (108), Ansley (459), Arnold (592), Berwyn (75), Callaway (563), Comstock (68), Mason City (151), Merna (343), Oconto (138)
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of county pop.): 4,042 (38%)

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

  • Agriculture: 97% 
    • By method: Pasture (pure grassland) (71%); Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (17%); Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (9%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Livestock (grassland) 69%, Corn 15%, Soybeans 6%, Alfalfa 3%, Sorghum 1% • USDA - equals agriculture's % plus some wetlands (1%) and minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 3%


County Offices

Courthouse Address and Hours:

431 South 10th Street
Broken Bow, Nebraska 68822
M-F 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

County Board Chairperson: Charles Blowers

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: 2nd & 4th Tuesday

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 Custer County (south of Arnold)


Population: 10,545
Land area (sq. mi.): 2,575.59
Population per square mile: 4.1

Race & Age


White: 93.0%
African American: 0.5%
American Indian: 0.3%
Asian: 0.2%
Hispanic: 3.7%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 2.3%


0-17: 24.2%
18-64: 53.1%
65+: 22.7%


Personal income per capita: $58,544
% of Population in Poverty: 9.8%
# of Housing Units: 5,310
Owner-occupied rate: 72.7%
Median home price: $138,080


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 31.4%

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

Employment, Schools, and Child Care

Unemployment rate: 1.4% (as of September 2022)

County Employment Website:

High school graduate or higher: 94.8%

School Districts: Anselmo-Merna Public Schools, Ansley Public Schools, Arnold Public Schools, Arcadia Public Schools, Broken Bow Public Schools, Callaway Public Schools, Cozad Community Schools, Gothenburg Public Schools, Litchfield Public Schools, Loup County Public Schools, Ord Public Schools, Sandhills Public Schools, Sargent Public Schools, Sumner-Eddyville-Miller Schools

Bachelor's degree or higher: 24.7%

Community College Service Area: Mid-Plains Community College

Countywide child care capacity: 19 providers; 418 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.

Custer County Employment

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $716,692,000

Cattle Producers: 635

  • Pastureland Cash Rent (avg.): $32/acre

Crop Producers: 465

  • Dryland Cash Rent (avg.): $89/acre

Dairy Producers: 2

Farmers Market: Market on the Square (BrokenkBow) ( May 19 - September 8, Thursdays 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.)

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: Country Partners Cooperative

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

Electricity Providers: City of Ansley, City of Broken Bow, City of Sargent, Custer PPD, Dawson PPD, Loup Valleys Rural PPD, Village of Arnold, Village of Callaway

Wind Turbines Operating (MW): 93 turbines (153,100 MW)

Rail-Served Communities: Anselmo, Ansley, Berwyn, Broken Bow, Mason City

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

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 3,199

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 140

Click for real time:

Streamflow data on the Middle Loup River (15 mi. northeast of Anselmo)

Streamflow data on the South Loup River at Arnold

Streamflow data on the South Loup River at Pressey WMA (17 mi. southeast of Callaway)

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: $0.2117 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $7,376,836

Total local government property taxes levied: $45,398,839

Total countywide taxable valuation: $3,483,938,639

Click here for all levy rates in Custer County

County Levy and Taxation Laws

Levy limits

Since 1996, counties and other political subdivisions have been subject to the levy limits under 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

Custer County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 14

Year Authorized: 1877

Year Organized: 1877

Etymology: George Custer (U.S. Army General)

     Located in the geographic heart of the state, Custer County features a diverse blend of topography. Nearly three-quarters of the county is in the state's corn belt, while the northwest one-quarter is considered part of the Sandhills. Consequently, corn and cattle production are the dominant contributors to the county's present day economy.

     The organization of Custer County was officially approved on Feb. 17, 1877. This came after a group of 13 ranchers and settlers sent to the governor a signed petition asking that the territory be formed into a governmental body. The county was named in honor of Gen. George A. Custer, who was killed the preceding summer.

     Only a handful of settlers came to the area in the years leading up to the 1870s. Since the region was virtually uninhabited, these settlers were able to amass enormous ranches. Eventually, more and more homesteaders came to the area, fenced in their land, and planted crops. With the tremendous cattle losses during the winter of 1880-81, the ranchers gave way to thousands of homesteaders coming to the area after the Civil War. Sod houses and small settlements quickly began to replace the vast ranches.

     The first courthouse was a cedar log, two-room, L-shaped structure that was built in 1876 on the Young Ranch near the South Loup River. It was used from the time the county was organized in 1877 until Broken Bow was named the county seat after a special three-way election.

     People often inquire how the county seat received its unique name. According to historians, Wilson Hewitt was postmaster for the area at the time and had suggested three names. Shortly after the third was rejected, Hewitt's two sons showed him a broken Indian bow they had found on the banks of nearby Muddy Creek. Hewitt suggested Broken Bow and it was quickly accepted by the post office department.

     A red brick, ornate courthouse with rounded towers on the corners was build in 1889. It was destroyed by fire in 1910. Two years later, the county's present courthouse was constructed on the same site.

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Local Highlights

License Plate Number: 4

Time Zone: Central

Number of Veterans: 784

Zoned County: Yes

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 218

Number of County-Owned Dams: 2

Election Data

General Election Turnout % (2022): 58.14%

Total Registered Voters (2020): 8,038

Number of Precincts (2020): 26

Number of Election Day Polling Places (2020): 11

Land Area per Polling Place (avg.) (2020): 234.14 sq. miles

Intergovernmental Data

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

Natural Resource Districts: Lower Loup NRD, Central Platte NRD

State Lands (acres): Arcadia Diversion Dam WMA (882.30), Berggren-Young WMA (160), Myrtle E. Hall WMA (1,960 Custer & Loup), Pressey WMA (1,578.60), Victoria Springs SRA (60)

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)