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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Hayes County

Hayes County Seat (pop.): Hayes Center (224)

Cities, Towns, and Villages (pop.): Hamlet (27), Palisade (294)

Courthouse Address and Hours:

502 Troth Street
Hayes Center, Nebraska 69032
M-F 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

County Board Chairperson: Jeff Unger

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: 2nd Tuesday

View the County's Government Maps

Visit the County Fairgrounds

NACO District: West Central

District President: Cayla Richards, Red Willow Commissioner

District First Vice President: Brett Nason, McPherson County Commissioner

District Second Vice President: Corey Crandall, Keith County Commissioner

District Secretary/Treasurer: Penelope Cooper, Red Willow Deputy County Clerk

NACO Board Representatives: Earl McNutt, Red Willow County Commissioner


Population: 843
Land area (sq. mi.): 713.06
Population per square mile: 1.2


White: 90.4%
African American: 0.7%
American Indian: 0.6%
Asian: 0.5%
Hispanic: 6.3%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.1%


0-17: 23.5%
18-64: 49.2%
65+: 27.3%


Personal income per capita: $90,144
% of Population in Poverty: 14.7%
# of Housing Units: 441
Owner-occupied rate: 71.2%
Median home price: $95,670


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 13.8%

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

Employment, Schools, and Child Care

Unemployment rate: 1.3% (as of September 2022)

County Employment Website:

High school graduate or higher: 92.2%

Bachelor's degree or higher: 18.7%

School Districts: Dundy County Stratton Public Schools, Hayes Center Public Schools, Maywood Public Schools, McCook Public Schools, Wallace Public School District 65 R, Wauneta-Palisade Public Schools

Hayes County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $82,032,000

Ag. Producers (Cattle): 113

Ag. Producers (Crop): 81

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: FVC, Hayes County Farmers Co-op

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

Electricity Providers: McCook PPD, Midwest Electric Member Corp., Southwest PPD

Rail-served Communities: Hamlet, Palisade

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: $0.1923 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $995,098

Total local government property taxes levied: $6,272,855

Total countywide taxable valuation: $517,577,753

Click here for all levy rates in Hayes 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)
Committees: Agriculture, Business and Labor, Judiciary, Nebraska Retirement Systems, Rules, Building Maintenance, Legislature's Planning Committee

Map and statistics for Legislative District 44

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Hayes County History

Year Founded: 1884

Number of Registered Historic Places: 3

Etymology: Rutherford Hayes (U.S. president)

Hayes County was created by an act of the Legislature on Feb. 19, 1877 and named for President Rutherford B. Hayes. It was not until the latter part of 1884, however, that the county officially organized. The following year, Hayes Center was founded with the intent of it being the county seat.

The early history of Hayes County, like so many others in Southwest Nebraska, centers around the cattle herds that were driven from Texas to Ogallala. Pre-dating that were the days when the Pawnee and Sioux tribes roamed the grasslands in this area and hunted buffalo. It was the buffalo that resulted in one of the most significant events in the history of what today is Hayes County.

In October 1871, President Ulysses S. Grant revealed that Grand Duke Alexis of Russia would be making a tour of the United States. One of the Duke's desires was to shoot a buffalo during his visit. Arrangements were quickly made for the Duke and his party of hunt on the central plains in the Nebraska Territory. Leading the hunt would be Gen. George Custer and Gen. Phil Sheridan. Buffalo Bill Cody, at age 25, would serve as the guide.

Cody asked Sioux Chief Spotted Tail to help round up a buffalo herd. In exchange for his assistance, Spotted Tail would receive 1,000 pounds of tobacco.

An elaborate camp was set up one mile west of Red Willow Creek, just inside what today is the eastern boundary of the county. It included two hospital tents for royal meals, ten wall tents for guests and generals, and a dormitory tent for orderlies and Russian servants.

The hunt took place in January 1872. The scouts and the Sioux found a herd of buffalo near Medicine Creek. After Duke Alexis emptied two pistols, Cody gave him a .50 caliber Springfield rifle. On his first shot, the Duke dropped a buffalo bull. Russian servants immediately brought out a basket of champagne to celebrate. Before the hunt ended, the Duke shot a total of eight buffalo.

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License Plate Number: 79

Time Zone: Central

Zoned County: Yes

Number of Veterans: 55

Voter Turnout (2022): 59.52%

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

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 30

Number of County-Owned Dams: 7

State Lands (acres): Frenchman WMA (98.55), Hayes Center WMA (118.53)

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)