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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Garfield County

Communities & Development

Garfield County Seat: Burwell

Total County Population (2020): 1,813

  • Cities (pop. & class): Burwell (1,087 • 2nd Class)
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of total county pop.): 726 (40%)

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

  • Agriculture: 95.5%
    • By method: Pasture (pure grassland) (87%), Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (6%), Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (2%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Livestock (grassland) 84%, Corn 3%, Soybeans 1%, Alfalfa 1%, Sorghum 1% • USDA - equals agriculture's % plus some wetlands (5%) and minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 4.5%

County Offices

Courthouse Address and Hours:

250 South 8th Street
Burwell, Nebraska 68823
M-F 8:30 am - 12:30 pm; 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

County Board Chairperson: Scott Krause

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


Population: 1,813
Land area (sq. mi.): 569.33
Population per square mile: 3.2

Race & Age


White: 96.6%
African American: 0.2%
American Indian: 0.0%
Asian: 0.0%
Hispanic: 1.3%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Two or More Races: 1.8%


0-17: 18.5%
18-64: 52.6%
65+: 28.9%


Personal income per capita: $54,771
% of Population in Poverty: 11.6%
# of Housing Units: 1,053
Owner-occupied rate: 68.4%
Median home price: $125,500


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 44.6%

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: 95.9%

School Districts: Burwell Public Schools, Chambers Public School, Wheeler Central Schools

Bachelor's degree or higher: 29.3%

Community College Service Area: Northeast Community College

Countywide child care capacity: 5 providers; 60 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.

Garfield County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $1,006,935,000

Cattle Producers: 121

  • Pastureland Cash Rent (avg.): $26/acre/yr

Crop Producers: 52

  • Dryland Cash Rent (avg.): $87/acre/yr

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

Electricity Providers: City of Burwell, Custer PPD, Loup Valleys Rural PPD, Niobrara Valley Electric Membership Corp.

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

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 432

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 67

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 Valuation

County levy rate: $0.2806 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $1,315,236

Total local government property taxes levied: $7,352,695

Total countywide taxable valuation: $468,763,858

Federal PILT payment to Garfield County (FY2022): $6,091 regarding 2,073 federally-owned acres

Click here for all levy rates in Garfield 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

Garfield County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 3

Year Authorized: 1884

Year Organized: 1884

Etymology: James Garfield (20th U.S. president)

     Originally part of Wheeler County, Garfield County split off and became organized in 1884. Its name pays tribute to President James Garfield, who was assassinated in 1881. Although Burwell is perhaps the county’s best-known community, early odds were on the town of Willow Springs to become Wheeler County’s enduring city. However, the railroad ended up passing through Burwell, spurring a population boom that dried up Willow Springs. In 1890, county residents voted to move the county seat to Burwell, whose proximity to the railroad, river, and fertile farmland drew residents from the rest of the county. In fact, Garfield County once featured nearly a dozen towns, but today, Burwell remains the only incorporated community.

     Following Burwell’s election as the county seat, residents built the first courthouse. Unlike many other county courthouses which lasted only a few decades, Garfield County’s first courthouse lasted until the early 1960’s, despite its humble wooden structure. In 1963, the county completed construction of its current courthouse. Notably, U.S. Senator Roman Hruska, formerly the NACO president, delivered the dedication for the new courthouse.

     Garfield County is a county of mixed and beautiful topography. The northern part of the county witnesses the beginnings of the Sandhills, the southern half offers fertile farmland, and the southeast corner features the twisting, scenic North Loup River. Notably, the river does not derive its name from its “looping” path, but from the French word for “wolf.” The river was named for a band of Pawnee Native Americans whose name was translated as “Wolf People.”

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Local Highlights

License Plate Number: 83

Time Zone: Central

Number of Veterans: 146

Zoned County: Yes

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 13

County Library: Garfield County Library

Election Data

Voter Turnout (2022): 60.78%

Number of Registered Voters (2020): 1,316

Number of Precincts (2020): 3

Number of Election Day Polling Places (2020): 1

Land Area per Polling Place (avg.) (2020): 569.33 sq. miles

Intergovernmental Data

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

Natural Resource District: Lower Loup NRD

State Lands (acres): Calamus Fish Hatchery (136), Calamus Reservoir WMA (9,942 Garfield & Loup), Mirdan Canal WMA (52)

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)