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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Gosper County

Communities & Development

Gosper County Seat: Elwood

Total County Population (2020): 1,893

  • Villages (pop.): Elwood (658), Smithfield (60)
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of total county pop.): 1,175 (62%)

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

  • Agriculture: 95%
    • By method: Pasture (pure grassland) (45%), Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (32%), Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (18%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Livestock (grassland) 43%, Corn 29%, Soybeans 15%, Wheat 3%, Alfalfa 1%, Sorghum 1% • USDA - equals agriculture's % plus some fallow land (1%) and some wetlands (3%) and minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 5%

County Offices

Courthouse Address and Hours:

507 Smith Avenue
Elwood, Nebraska 68937
M-F 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

County Board Chairperson: Terry Lerdall

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: 2nd Wednesday & Lasting working day of month, except Thursday or Friday

View the County's Government Maps

Visit the County Fairgrounds

NACO District: West Central

President: Corey Crandall, Keith County Commissioner

First Vice President: Ron Wertz, Hitchcock County Commissioner

Second Vice President: Chris Bruns, Lincoln County Commissioner

Secretary/Treasurer: Sandy Olson, Keith County Clerk

NACO Board Representative: Corey Crandall, Keith County Commissioner


Population: 1,893
Land area (sq. mi.): 458.16
Population per square mile: 4.1

Race & Age


White: 92.2%
African American: 0.1%
American Indian: 0.2%
Asian: 0.6%
Hispanic: 5.0%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Two or More Races: 1.8%


0-17: 21.2%
18-64: 54.1%
65+: 24.7%


Personal income per capita: $67,627
% of Population in Poverty: 7.9%
# of Housing Units: 1,148
Owner-occupied rate: 75.5%
Median home price: $195,480


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 30.5%

Sources: National Association of RealtorsNebraska Library Commission, U.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: 94.8%

School Districts: Arapahoe Public Schools, Bertrand Public Schools, Cambridge Public Schools, Elwood Public Schools, Eustis-Farnam Public Schools, Lexington Public Schools, Southern Valley Schools

Bachelor's degree or higher: 29.1%

Community College Service Area: Central Community College

Countywide child care capacity: 6 providers; 85 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.

Gosper County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $100,266,000

Cattle Producers: 151

  • Pastureland Cash Rent (avg.): $38/acre/yr

Crop Producers: 139

  • Dryland Cash Rent (avg.): $86acre/yr
  • Irrigated Land Cash Rent (avg.): $246/acre/yr

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: Aurora Cooperative, CHS

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

Electricity Providers: Dawson PPD, Southern PPD, Twin Valleys PPD

Rail-served Communities: Elwood, Smithfield

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

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 952

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 29

Click for real time:

Groundwater level data at Rd. 420 & Dr. 728 (15 mi. southwest of Elwood)

Groundwater level data at Rd. 417 & 726 Rd. (18.5 mi. southwest of Elwood)

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: $0.2264 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $2,056,483

Total local government property taxes levied: $11,210,345

Total countywide taxable valuation: $908,508,075

Click here for all levy rates in Gosper 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: Teresa J. Ibach (District 44)

Select Committees:

  • Rules

Special Committees: 

  • Building Maintenance
  • Legislature's Planning

Map and statistics for Legislative District 44

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Gosper County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 1

Year Authorized: 1873

Year Organized: 1881

Etymology: John Gosper (Nebraska secretary of state)

     The history of Gosper is one of abrupt population shifts, subsequent grappling over the county seat, and the rise and fall of ambitious towns. In 1873, the Nebraska Legislature authorized the organization of Gosper County, named after John Gosper, Nebraska’s then-Secretary of State. Since Daviesville was operating the area’s primary post office, it made sense to designate it as the county seat. A few months later, the county board authorized the construction of a courthouse but failed to secure sufficient funding, forcing officials to maintain county records in their homes and offices. Daviesville would never see a courthouse. A rival settlement named Homerville emerged and enjoyed a minor population boom in anticipation of the railroad. In 1882, Homerville eclipsed Daviesville by seizing the county seat, and the latter never recovered, fading into the pages of Gosper County history. 

     However, Homerville would soon follow suit, for the railroad never arrived and instead passed through a town named Elwood, platted in 1885. Elwood began attracting large numbers of settlers, and 1888, it won the county seat from Homerville, who protested the outcome by filing an injunction that merely delayed the inevitable. In 1889, construction crews demolished the Homerville courthouse and transported the lumber to Elwood, where it was used to erect the new courthouse. Elwood began consolidating the county’s population, leaving the town of Smithfield as the only other village in Gosper county.

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Local Highlights

License Plate Number: 73

Time Zone: Central

Number of Veterans: 150

Zoned County: Yes

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 49

Number of County-Owned Dams: 12

Election Data

General Election Turnout % (2022): 59.82%

Total Registered Voters (2020): 1,460

Number of Precincts (2020): 4

Number of Election Day Polling Places (2020): 3

Land Area per Polling Place (avg.) (2020): 157.72 sq. miles

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

Natural Resource District: Tri-Basin NRD

State Lands (acres): East Canyon Lakes WMA (10.30), Elwood Reservoir WMA (724), Johnson Lake SRA (68)

Federal Lands (acres): Elley WPA (60), Peterson Basin WMA (1,156.09), Victor Lakes WPA (237.50)

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)