Skip to main content

Nebraska Counties Explorer

Hayes County

Communities and Development

Hayes County Seat: Hayes Center

Total County Population (2020): 856

  • Villages (pop.): Hamlet (27), Hayes Center (224), Palisade (pt.) (17)
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of county pop.): 588 (69%)

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

  • Agriculture: 93%
    • By method: Pasture (pure grassland) (57%); Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (22%); Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (15%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Livestock (grassland) 61%, Corn 18%, Wheat 4%, Soybeans 3%, Sorghum 3%, Alfalfa 1% • USDA - equals agriculture's % plus some fallow land (6%) and some wetlands (1%) and minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 7%

County Offices

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

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: 856
Land area (sq. mi.): 713.06
Population per square mile: 1.2

Race and Age


White: 88.8%
African American: 0.0%
American Indian: 0.5%
Asian: 0.2%
Hispanic: 7.4%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Two or More Races: 3.2%


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: 442
Owner-occupied rate: 69.2%
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%

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

Bachelor's degree or higher: 18.7%

Community College Service Area: Mid-Plains Community College

Hayes County Economy

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

Cattle Producers: 113

  • Pastureland Cash Rent (avg.): $19/acre

Crop Producers: 81

  • Dryland Cash Rent (avg.): $56/acre
  • Irrigated Land Cash Rent (avg.): $195/acre

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

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

Oil Wells Producing (barrels of oil/yr): 14 wells (19,209 barrels)

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

Rail-served Communities: Hamlet, Palisade

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

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 755

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 45

Click for real time:

Streamflow data on Frenchman Creek at 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)

Standing Committees (click for scheduled committee hearings): 

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

Hayes County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 3

Year Authorized: 1877

Year Organized: 1884

Etymology: Rutherford Hayes (U.S. president)

     Prior to the arrival of European settlers, Hayes County was home to the Pawnee and Sioux Native American tribes. History has recorded numerous fierce battles between the two tribes over contested hunting grounds. In the late 1860’s, General Custer and the Seventh Cavalry roamed the area, attempting to suppress battles between the two tribes and protect newly arrived settlers and ranchers. However, the first widespread violence in the Hayes County did not occur between the Native American tribes and the white pioneers who’d seized their lands, but between cattlemen and settlers. Cattlemen, fearing little in Nebraska’s southwestern frontier, used threats and violence (including murder) to expel settlers and deter those considering homesteading in the area.

     Order would gradually arrive in Hayes County following its founding in 1877 and formal organization in 1884. The following year, the county held an election to decide the county seat, and after a special election in which no town received a majority of votes, Hayes Center finally prevailed over Estelle in a subsequent run-off. The county (and its seat) was named after Rutherford B. Hayes, who won one of the most contentious presidential elections in 1876 by a single electoral vote.

     Hayes County is also the site of “The Great Buffalo Hunt,” an event in 1872 that was attended most prominently by the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia, General George Custer, and Buffalo Bill Cody. Intent on hunting buffalo, the Grand Duke ventured into Nebraska near Medicine Creek. Buffalo Bill, along with Chief Spotted Tail, rounded up a nearby buffalo herd and sent them thundering in the direction of the Grand Duke. However, after failing to fell a single buffalo with two pistols, the Grand Duke used Buffalo Bill’s .50 caliber rifle to kill eight animals. This type of “big game” hunting dramatically reduced the 10 million bison in North America in 1870 to less than five hundred just prior to the turn of the century. Moreover, the precipitous decline of the buffalo deprived Native Americans of their primary source of food, clothing, and tools, thereby hastening their decline across the mid-continent.

     Today, Hayes County is a community rich in agriculture, including both ranching and farming. Its scenic rivers, trails, and wildlife areas also make it a popular tourist destination for hunting, camping, fishing, birdwatching, and stargazing.

Highlight an important program in your county in this space! Send an email to:

Local Highlights

License Plate Number: 79

Time Zone: Central

Number of Veterans: 55

Zoned County: Yes

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 30

Number of County-Owned Dams: 7

Election Data

General Election Turnout % (2022): 59.52%

Total Registered Voters (2020): 695

Number of Precincts (2020): 3

Number of Election Day Polling Places (2020): 1

Land Area per Polling Place (avg.) (2020): 713.06 sq. miles

Intergovernmental Data

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

Natural Resource District: Middle Republican NRD

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)