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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Holt County

Communities and Development

Holt County Seat: O'Neill (3,581)

Total County Population (2020): 10,127

  • Cities (pop. & class): Atkinson (1,306 • 2nd Class), O'Neill (3,581 • 2nd Class)
  • Villages (pop.): Chambers (288), Emmet (46), Ewing (373), Inman (95), Page (166), Stuart (486)
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of county pop.): 3,786 (37%)

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

  • Agriculture: 89%
    • By method: Pasture (pure grassland) (67%); Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (19%); Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (3%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Livestock (grassland) 65%, Corn 12%, Soybeans 7%, Alfalfa 2% • USDA - equals agriculture's % plus some wetlands (7%) and minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 7%
  • Timber: 4%

County Offices

Courthouse Address and Hours:

204 North 4th Street
O'Neill, Nebraska 68763
M-F 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

County Board Chairperson: Bill Tielke

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: 1st working day after the 15th & last working day of month

View the County's Government Maps

Visit the County Fairgrounds

NACO District: Northeast

President: Lisa Lunz, Dixon County Supervisor 

Vice President: Sandy Zoubek, Stanton County Treasurer

Secretary: Katie Hart, Burt County Assessor

Treasurer: Krista Nix, Knox County Deputy Clerk 

NACO Board Representative: Bill Tielke, Holt County Supervisor 

Click for a live look at Holt County (southeast of of Inman)


Population: 10,127
Land area (sq. mi.): 2,412.40
Population per square mile: 4.2

Race and Age


White: 92.1%
African American: 0.4%
American Indian: 0.4%
Asian: 0.5%
Hispanic: 5.1%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Two or More Races: 1.4%


0-17: 25.9%
18-64: 51.1%
65+: 22.6%


Personal income per capita: $66,231
% of Population in Poverty: 10.9%
# of Housing Units: 4,893
Owner-occupied rate: 72.1%
Median home price: $148,830


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 16.8%

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

Employment, Schools, and Child Care

Unemployment rate: 1.8% (as of September 2022)

County Employment Website:

High school graduate or higher: 90.9%

School Districts: Boyd County Schools, Burwell Public Schools, Chambers Public Schools, O-Neill Public Schools, Stuart Public Schools, Summerland Public Schools, Verdigre Public Schools, Wheeler Central Schools, West Hold Public Schools

Bachelor's degree or higher: 25.6%

Community College Service Area: Northeast Community College

Countywide child care capacity: 32 providers; 504 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.

Holt County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $703,033,000

Cattle Producers: 658

  • Pastureland Cash Rent (avg.): $37/acre

Crop Producers: 398

  • Dryland Cash Rent (avg.): $73/acre
  • Irrigated Land Cash Rent (avg.): $245/acre

Dairy Producers: 1

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: Central Valley Ag, Farmers Pride, Green Plains Atkinson

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

Electricity Providers: City of Stuart, Elkhorn Rural PPD, Nebraska PPD, Niobrara Valley Electric Member Corp., North Central PPD

Wind Turbines Operating (MW): 200 turbines (400,000 MW total)

Rail-served Communities: O'Neill, Page

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

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 4,636

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 264

Click for real time:

Streamflow data on the Elkhorn River at Ewing

Groundwater level data near 500th Ave. & 876th Rd. (8 mi. northeast of O'Neill)

Groundwater level data near Fort Rd. & Davis Rd. (9 mi. southwest of Amelia) • Eastern well in row of 3

Groundwater level data near Fort Rd. & Davis Rd. (9 mi. southwest of Amelia) • Middle well in row of 3

Groundwater level data near Fort Rd. & Davis Rd. (9 mi. southwest of Amelia) • Western well in row of 3

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: $0.3361 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $9,784,878

Total local government property taxes levied: $40,911,945

Total countywide taxable valuation: $2,910,969,819

Federal PILT payment to Holt County (FY2022): $875 regarding 298 federally-owned acres

Click here for all levy rates in Holt 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: Barry DeKay (District 40)

Standing Committees (click for scheduled committee hearings): 

Special Committees: 

  • State-Tribal Relations (vice-chairperson)
  • Justice Reinvestment Oversight
  • Statewide Tourism and Recreation Water Access and Resource Sustainability

Map and statistics for Legislative District 40

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Holt County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 10

Year Authorized: 1862

Year Organized: 1876

Etymology: Joseph Holt (U.S. Postmaster General and Secretary of War)

     Holt County owes its success not to the “luck of the Irish,” but rather, the resolve, persistence, and resourcefulness of early Irish settlers. Although many different ethnicities inhabited and helped develop Holt County over its rich history, Irish immigrants played a prominent role as European settlers moved westward.

     Originally home to several Native American tribes, including the Sioux and Pawnee, the area’s first European explorers were likely French-Canadian hunters and trappers who traded with various Native American tribes along the Niobrara and Elkhorn rivers in the mid-1600’s. Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, settlers from the eastern United States began to trickle westward into the Great Plains.

     Holt County was authorized for organization in 1862, but it would take another 14 years before it was officially organized. In 1864, John O’Neill (perhaps best known for attacking Canada on several occasions in the 1870’s as part of the Fenian Brotherhood) led a group of Irish immigrants from the eastern U.S. into northeast Nebraska. Finding Holt County suitable for settlement, O’Neill guided additional groups of Irish immigrants into the county for the next several years, and the county seat of O'Neill bears his legacy.

     With its budding population and settlements, Holt County petitioned for official organization in 1873, but the county lacked the required 200 residents. In 1876, the county easily cleared that population threshold and a governor’s proclamation official organized Holt County. The population rose to over 3,000 residents in 1880 and spiked to over 13,000 residents in 1890.

     Initially, Twin Lakes was designated the Holt County seat, but residents challenged the validity of the election. During the subsequent election, Paddock was selected to be the county seat, only to fall out of favor three years later, due mainly to its extreme northern location. O’Neill, much more centrally located, was chosen by voters, though a courthouse would not grace the city until 1885. By that time, O’Neill was growing rapidly and would eclipse 1,200 residents in less than a decade. Its geographic location and rapid growth allowed the city to fend off several subsequent challenges to move the county seat.

     Today, Holt County retains a rich mix of agriculture. Ranchers inhabit the western part of the county while farmers cultivate the eastern part. Nebraska’s top five commodities are cattle, corn, soybeans, hogs, and dairy—all of which Holt County proudly produces.

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Local Highlights

License Plate Number: 36

Time Zone: Central

Zoned County: Yes

Number of Veterans: 574

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 182

Number of County-Owned Dams: 1

Election Data

Voter Turnout (2022): 58.20%

Number of Registered Voters (2020): 7,149

Number of Precincts (2020): 13

Number of Election Day Polling Places (2020): 9

Land Area per Polling Place (avg.) (2020): 268.04 sq. miles

Intergovernmental Data

Emergency Mgt. Planning, Exercise and Training (PET) Region: North Central/Sandhills

Natural Resource Districts: Lower Niobrara NRD, Upper Elkhorn NRD

State Lands (acres): Dry Creek WMA (293), Goose Lake WMA (384.90), O. John Emerson WMA (160), Redbird WMA (433.04), Spencer Dam WMA (9)

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)