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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Harlan County

Communities and Development

Harlan County Seat: Alma

Total County Population (2020): 3,073

  • Cities (pop. & class): Alma (1,043 • 2nd Class)
  • Villages (pop.): Huntley (33), Orleans (341), Oxford (191), Ragan (22), Republican City (134), Stamford (158)
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of county pop.): 1,342 (44%)

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

  • Agriculture: 89%
    • By method: Pasture (pure grassland) (32%); Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (29%); Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (28%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Livestock (grassland) 33%, Corn 31%, Soybeans 19%, Wheat 4%, Sorghum 2%, Alfalfa 1%, Wheat 1% • USDA - equals agriculture's % plus some fallow land (1%) and some wetlands (4%) and minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 11%

County Offices

Courthouse Address and Hours:

706 West 2nd Street
Alma, Nebraska 68920
M-F 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

County Board Chairperson: Chris Schluntz

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: 1st & 3rd 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 Harlan County (north of Alma)


Population: 3,091
Land area (sq. mi.): 553.47
Population per square mile: 5.6


White: 94.6%
African American: 0.0%
American Indian: 0.2%
Asian: 0.4%
Hispanic: 2.9%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Two or More Races: 1.9%


0-17: 21.6%
18-64: 51.1%
65+: 27.2%


Personal income per capita: $66,306
% of Population in Poverty: 9.9%
# of Housing Units: 1,915
Owner-occupied rate: 81.8%
Median home price: $134,530


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 59.5%

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

Employment, Schools, and Child Care

Unemployment rate: 1.7% (as of September 2022)

County Employment Website:

High school graduate or higher: 93.4%

School Districts: Alma Public Schools, Franklin Public Schools, Holdrege Public Schools, Loomis Public Schools, Southern Valley Schools, Wilcox-Hildreth Public Schools

Bachelor's degree or higher: 23.8%

Community College Service Area: Central Community College

Countywide child care capacity: 1 providers; 80 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.

Harlan County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $174,611,000

Cattle Producers: 137

  • Pastureland Cash Rent (avg.): $34/acre

Crop Producers: 125

  • Dryland Cash Rent (avg.): $93/acre
  • Irrigated Land Cash Rent (avg.): $234/acre

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: Ag Valley, CHS, CPI

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

Farmers Markets:

  • Alma Farmers Market (Saturdays, 9 AM - Noon)
  • Orleans Farmers Market (June - September, Fridays 5 - 7 PM)

Oil Wells Producing (barrels of oil/yr): 29 wells (34,111 barrels)

Electricity Providers: Southern PPD, Twin Valleys PPD, Village of Oxford

Rail-served Communities: Alma, Flynn, Mascot, Orleans, Oxford, Republican City, Stamford

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

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 1,279

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 97

Click for real time:

Streamflow data on the Republican River near Orleans

Streamflow data on Sappa Creek near Stamford

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: $0.2305 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $2,380,727

Total local government property taxes levied: $14,093,298

Total countywide taxable valuation: $1,032,853,507

Federal PILT payment to Harlan County (FY2022): $89,715 regarding 30,537 federally-owned acres

Click here for all levy rates in Harlan 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

Harlan County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 7

Year Authorized: 1871

Year Organized: 1871

Etymology: Disputed; James Harlan (either a politician or revenue collector)

     Originally, Harlan County was the hunting ground for several Native American tribes, most notably the Cheyenne and Sioux, who valued the land for its fertile soil, abundant game, and numerous rivers and streams. To defend their territory, these tribes began conducting a series of raids after European settlers began staking claims in the area. However, after winning the Battle of Summit Springs in 1869, the U.S. Army successfully suppressed any further raids and uprisings, thereby securing the settlement of south-central Nebraska, including Harlan County.

     In 1871, a group of pioneers from Wyoming settled near what would become the county seat, Alma. One of these settlers was named Thomas Harlan, though historians dispute whether he or James Harlan (the contemporary Secretary of the Interior) was the county’s namesake. In any event, Thomas Harlan’s party of settlers firmly established Alma as the county seat, though neighboring towns also grew in size and challenged Alma for this honor, including Orleans. As in many other counties, the dispute for the county seat reached the Nebraska Supreme Court, who ruled in favor of Alma.

     The county steadily grew in population over the next several decades, aided by the fertile soil and abundant water. In 1935, the Republican River flooded, prompting calls for a dam to be built. However, it was not until 1952 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finally completed the Harlan County Dam, which in turn created one of the county’s gems, the Harlan County Reservoir. Today, Harlan County is a one of Nebraska’s premier recreation destinations.

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Local Highlights

License Plate Number: 51

Time Zone: Central

Number of Veterans: 288

Zoned County: Yes

County Hospital: Harlan County Health System

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 47

Number of County-Owned Dams: 6

Election Data

General Election Turnout % (2022): 59.28%

Total Registered Voters (2020): 2,492

Number of Precincts (2020): 8

Number of Election Day Polling Places (2020): 1

Land Area per Polling Place (avg.) (2020): 553.47 sq. miles

Intergovernmental Data

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

Natural Resource District: Lower Republican NRD

State Lands (acres): Burton's Bend WMA (77 Furnas, Harlan & Red Willow), South Sacramento WMA (167), Southeast Sacramento WMA (185.05)

Federal Lands (acres): Harlan County Reservoir (31,010)

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)