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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Hitchcock County

Communities and Development

Hitchcock County Seat: Trenton

Total County Population (2020): 2,616

  • Villages (pop.): Culbertson (534), Palisade (294), Stratton (310), Trenton (516)
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of county pop.): 962 (37%)

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

  • Agriculture: 94%
    • By method: Pasture (pure grassland) (47%); Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (40%); Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (7%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Livestock (grassland) 49%, Corn 15%, Wheat 11%, Sorghum 5%, Soybeans 2%, Alfalfa 1% • USDA - equals agriculture's % plus some fallow land (13%) and some wetlands (2%) and minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 6%

County Offices

Courthouse Address and Hours:

229 East D Street
Trenton, Nebraska 69044
M-F 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

County Board Chairperson: Paul Nichols

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: 1st & 3rd Monday

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

Click for a live look at Hitchcock County (west of Culbertson)


Population: 2,616
Land area (sq. mi.): 709.94
Population per square mile: 3.7

Race and Age


White: 94.1%
African American: 0.0%
American Indian: 0.0%
Asian: 0.1%
Hispanic: 3.3%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.2%
Two or More Races: 2.3%


0-17: 23.3%
18-64: 51.0%
65+: 25.7%


Personal income per capita: $59,923
% of Population in Poverty: 12.0%
# of Housing Units: 1,571
Owner-occupied rate: 80.7%
Median home price: $89,650


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 17.7%

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

Employment, Schools, and Child Care

Unemployment rate: 1.9% (as of September 2022)

County Employment Website:

High school graduate or higher: 93.5%

School Districts: Dundy County Stratton Public Schools, Hayes Center Public Schools, Hitchcock County School System, McCook Public Schools, Wauneta-Palisade Public Schools

Bachelor's degree or higher: 15.8%

Community College Service Area: Mid-Plains Community College

Countywide child care capacity: 2 providers; 24 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.

Hitchcock County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $149,505,000

Cattle Producers: 145

  • Pastureland Cash Rent (avg.): $20/acre

Crop Producers: 94

  • Dryland Cash Rent (avg.): $55/acre
  • Irrigated Land Cash Rent (avg.): $194/acre

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: Farmers Co-op Association, FVC, Trenton Agri Products

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

Oil Wells Producing (barrels of oil/yr): 453 wells (565,881 barrels)

Electricity Providers: City of Stratton, City of Trenton, McCook PPD, Southwest PPD

Rail-served Communities: Culbertson, Palisade, Stratton, Trenton

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

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 670

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 41

Click for real time:

Streamflow data on the Republican River at Stratton

Streamflow data on Frenchman Creek at Culbertson

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: $0.2595 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $1,964,801

Total local government property taxes levied: $10,176,707

Total countywide taxable valuation: $757,275,137

Federal PILT payment to Hitchcock County (FY2022): $23,679 regarding 8,060 federally-owned acres

Click here for all levy rates in Hitchcock 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

Hitchcock County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 4

Year Authorized: 1873

Year Organized: 1873

Etymology: Phineas Hitchcock (U.S. senator)

     The story of Hitchcock County is the story of roads and rails crosscrossing its grassy plains. In the mid-19th century, the Texas-Ogallala cattle trail wound through what would become Hitchcock County.  It’s estimated that over five million cattle were transported on these cattle drives, many of which passed through the county. When barbed wire, harsh winters, and the expansion of freight transport ended the reign of the cowboy, railroad lines crossed perpendicular to the cattle trails through Hitchcock County. The railroads brought settlers and cattlemen, and the area witnessed a local population boom from 1870-1890.

     In 1873, cognizant of the burgeoning population, local settlers petitioned Nebraska’s governor to organize the county. Governor Robert Furnas concurred, and in 1873, he signed a proclamation officially organizing Hitchcock County. The territory was named after Phineas Hitchcock, one of Nebraska’s senators at the time and also father to Gilbert M. Hitchcock, who would later found the Omaha World-Herald.

     The early years of Hitchcock County were not kind to settlers. The mid-1870’s drought and grasshopper infestations forced many settlers to abandon their homesteads, while unusually cruel winters in the 1880’s plundered both lives and morale from early communities. Yet the history of Hitchcock is infused with the resolute determination of the cowboy, and the grit that moved cattle across the county would withstand the challenges of frontier life. Communities soon thrived, including Culbertson, Palisade, Stratton, and the county seat, Trenton.

     Like many frontier places, Hitchcock County witnessed its share of lawlessness and desperados. According the autobiography of Hitchcock County’s first sheriff, Gale E. Baldwin, the first election for his office was hotly contested. Sheriff Baldwin recounts how cattle thieves despised him for tracking and returning stolen horses, so they supported an alternative candidate who promised to look the other way. A local cattle rustler by the name of Jack McCall, or “Curly Jack,” took particular offense to Baldwin. On the day of the election, McCall burst into a store with two loaded pistols, intent on killing Baldwin. However, Baldwin had caught wind of McCall’s murderous intent. Having left his guns at home at the request of his wife, Baldwin armed himself with a two-by-four, and when McCall burst into the store, Baldwin leveled him and proceed to win the election for sheriff. A doctor initially declared McCall dead but later discovered he’d survived; Baldwin and his wife would nurse McCall back to health. McCall would eventually recover and leave the territory, only to be later hanged for murdering the notorious Wild Bill Hickok.

     Today, Hitchcock County is still known for its agriculture, including ranching. Conservation is also a county touchstone. In 1949, the Swanson Reservoir was created and immediately became vitally important to local irritation and flood mitigation. It’s also one of most picturesque and often visited recreation areas in Hitchcock County.

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Local Highlights

License Plate Number: 67

Time Zone: Central

Number of Veterans: 198

Zoned County: Yes

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 35

Election Data

General Election Turnout % (2022): 57.36%

Total Registered Voters (2020): 1,920

Number of Precincts (2020): 4

Number of Election Day Polling Places (2020): 4

Land Area per Polling Place (avg.) (2020): 177.49 sq. miles

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

Natural Resource District: Middle Republican NRD

State Lands (acres): Swanson Reservoir SRA (1,300), Swanson Reservoir WMA (8,325)

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)