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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Jefferson County

Communities and Development

Jefferson County Seat (pop.): Fairbury

Total County Population (2020): 7,240

  • Cities (pop. & class): Fairbury (3,970 • 2nd Class)
  • Villages (pop.): Daykin (153), Diller (247), Endicott (113), Harbine (56), Jansen (101), Plymouth (364), Reynolds (57), Steele City (44)
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of county pop.): 2,135 (29%)

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

  • Agriculture: 90%
    • By method: Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (35%); Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (28%); Pasture (pure grassland) (27%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Corn 31%, Soybeans 28%, Livestock (grassland) 25%, Wheat 2%, Alfalfa 2%, Other Hay 1% • USDA - equals agriculture's % plus some wetlands (0.25%) and minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 8%
  • Timber: 2%

County Offices

Courthouse Address and Hours:

411 4th Street
Fairbury, Nebraska 68352
M-F 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

County Board Chairperson: Gale Pohlmann

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: Every Tuesday (except the 5th Tuesday)

View the County's Government Maps

Visit the County Fairgrounds

NACO District: Southeast

President: Misty Ahmic, Seward County Commissioner

Vice President: Patty McEvoy, Saunders County Clerk of the District Court

Secretary/Treasurer: Amber Mulberry, Saline County Clerk of the District Court

NACO Board Representative: Mark Schoenrock, Jefferson County Commissioner


Population: 7,240
Land area (sq. mi.): 570.18
Population per square mile: 12.7


White: 90.6%
African American: 0.3%
American Indian: 0.6%
Asian: 0.2%
Hispanic: 5.0%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Two or More Races: 3.1%


0-17: 22.7%
18-64: 53.1%
65+: 24.2%


Personal income per capita: $56,274
% of Population in Poverty: 9.9%
# of Housing Units: 3,665
Owner-occupied rate: 73.7%
Median home price: $116,460


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 51.2%

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: 90.4%

School Districts: Diller-Odell Public Schools, Fairbury Public Schools, Meridian Public Schools, Tri County Public Schools

Bachelor's degree or higher: 18.3%

Community College Service Area: Southeast Community College

Countywide child care capacity: 13 providers; 271 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.

Jefferson County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $447,681,000

Cattle Producers: 204

  • Pastureland Cash Rent (avg.): $42/acre

Crop Producers: 199

  • Dryland Cash Rent (avg.): $148/acre
  • Irrigated Land Cash Rent (avg.): $255/acre

Dairy Producers: 5

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: Aurora Cooperative, Farmers Union Coop

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

Farmers Market: Fairbury Farmers Market (Downtown) (May - October, Saturdays 8 AM - 11 AM)

Electricity Providers: City of Fairbury, Norris PPD, Village of Endicott, Village of Reynolds

Wind Turbines Operating (MW): 32 turbines (54,400 MW)

Rail-served Communities: Endicott, Fairbury, Jansen, Plymouth, Steele City

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

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 1,004

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 213

Click for real time:

Streamflow data on the Little Blue River near Fairbury

Groundwater level data near NE Hwy 4 & 576th Ave. (2 mi. west of Plymouth)

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: $0.3675 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $6,902,084

Total local government property taxes levied: $29,427,166

Total countywide taxable valuation: $1,877,722,050

Click here for all levy rates in Jefferson 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: Tom Brandt (District 32)

Standing Committees (click for scheduled committee hearings): 

Map and statistics for Legislative District 32

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Jefferson County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 14

Year Authorized: 1856

Year Organized: 1864

Etymology: Thomas Jefferson (U.S. president)

     Jefferson County was formed in 1856 as a part of a larger redistricting initiative that completely reorganized eastern Nebraska (including creating a dozen new counties). However, Jefferson County’s first name was Jones County. It wasn’t until 1867 that the name was changed to honor the nation’s third president and author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson. In 1871, the Legislature divided Jefferson County in half, creating Thayer County out of the western portion. 

     As with other Nebraska counties, Jefferson County was inhabited for hundreds of years by Native American tribes prior to the arrival of European settlers. In fact, according to some historians, one of the largest Native American battles occurred in northwestern Jefferson County, near the confluence of the Little Blue River and Big Sandy River. The battle between the Sioux and Pawnee raged for three days, and reports indicate that over 5,000 warriors died. The Pawnee would retain control of the area, but the victory was short-lived. European settlement aided by the U.S. Army eventually displaced the Pawnee (and every other Native American tribe), relegating them to reservations.

     Prior to its formal organization, Jefferson County welcomed both the Oregon Trail and Pony Express Route. The Rock Creek Station was a welcome stop for travelers, offering supplies and shelter. Later, the station would give Nebraska an infamous historical event—the killing of Wild Bill Hickok’s first victim. Accounts vary, but Hickok allegedly killed a man who was arguing with the station manager. A jury found that Hickok acted in self-defense, one of many returned verdicts that justified Hickok’s questionable use of lethal force.

     The early days of Jefferson County posed formidable challenges to settlers. Conflicts with Native American tribes and droughts were common in Jefferson County, but the 1874 grasshopper infestation was particularly nefarious. Numerous historical accounts report that clouds of grasshoppers blocked out the sun, darkening the sky and warning settlers of their impending arrival. Upon landing, the grasshoppers ate everything from field crops to garden vegetables to honey-combed chimneys to curtains and nettings. So great were their numbers that upon being run over and crushed by trains, the oil of the grasshoppers greased the rails and caused train wheels to spin without pulling the cars down the track.

     Despite all these obstacles, Jefferson County residents persevered, and their mettle helped found a dozen communities, including the county seat of Fairbury. The city would become a railroad shipping hub that sparked a minor population boom which continued well into the 20th century. Today, Jefferson County is known for both its agriculture and manufacturing.

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Local Highlights

License Plate Number: 33

Time Zone: Central

Number of Veterans: 527

Zoned County: Yes

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 206

Number of County-Owned Dams: 1

Election Data

General Election Turnout % (2022): 57.31%

Total Registered Voters (2020): 4,902

Number of Precincts (2020): 10

Number of Election Day Polling Places (2020): 10

Land Area per Polling Place (2020): 57.02 sq. miles

Intergovernmental Data

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

Natural Resource Districts: Little Blue NRD, Lower Big Blue NRD

State Lands (acres): Alexandria SRA (101), Alexandria WMA (1,204.54), Flathead WMA (259.20), Rock Creek State Historical Park (353), Rock Creek SRA (40), Rock Glen WMA (706), Rose Creek WMA (667.57)

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)