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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Keith County

Keith County Seat (pop.): Ogallala (4,878)

Cities, Towns, and Villages (pop.): Brule (331), Keystone (73), Lemoyne (44), Paxton (516)

Courthouse Address and Hours:

511 North Spruce Street
Ogallala, Nebraska 69153
M-F 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

County Board Chairperson: Joan Ervin

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: Wednesday

View the County's Government Maps

Visit the County Fairgrounds

District President: Brett Nason, McPherson County Commissioner

District First Vice President: Corey Crandall, Keith County Commissioner

District Second Vice President: Ron Wertz, Hitchcock County Commissioner

District Secretary/Treasurer: Katherine Hoberg, McPherson County Clerk

NACO Board Representatives: Corey Crandall, Keith County Commissioner

Click for a live look at Keith County (south of Paxton)


Population: 8,279
Land area (sq. mi.): 1,061.74
Population per square mile: 7.9


White: 88.5%
African American: 1.0%
American Indian: 0.9%
Asian: 0.7%
Hispanic: 8.2%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.0%


0-17: 21.1%
18-64: 51.8%
65+: 27.1%


Personal income per capita: $52,394
% of Population in Poverty: 11.7%
# of Housing Units: 5,378
Owner-occupied rate: 71.5%
Median home price: $159,460


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 79.8%

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

Employment, Schools, and Child Care

Unemployment rate: 1.5% (as of September 2022)

County Employment Website:

High school graduate or higher: 90.0%

Bachelor's degree or higher: 19.3%

School Districts: Arthur County Schools, Garden County Schools, Ogallala Public Schools, Paxton Consolidated Schools, Perkins County Schools, South Platte Public Schools

Countywide child care capacity: 14 providers; 238 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.

Keith County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $393,621,000

Ag. Producers (Cattle): 114

Ag. Producers (Crop): 138

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: CHS, Hi Line Co-op 

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

Electricity Providers: Midwest Electric Member Corp., Nebraska PPD, Wheat Belt PPD

Rail-served Communities: Brule, Lemoyne, Ogallala, Roscoe, Ruthon, Paxton

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: $0.2417 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $5,038,874

Total local government property taxes levied: $27,233,569

Total countywide taxable valuation: $2,084,466,328

Click here for all levy rates in Keith 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: Steve Erdman (District 47)
Committees: Appropriations, Committee on Committees, Rules

Map and statistics for Legislative District 47

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Keith County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 13

Year Authorized: 1873

Year Organized: 1873

Etymology: M.C. Keith (rancher)

Keith County is probably best known today for being the home of Lake McConaughy and the Kingsley Dam. But in the early days, the area that would become Keith County was best known for cattle and cowboys.

The Oregon, Overland and Mormon Trails all played an important role in bringing early travelers through the area. Prior to that the area was seen only by trappers and the Pawnee and Sioux tribes. But with the trails and then the westward advancement of the Union Pacific Railroad, the area along the North and South Platte Rivers began to develop.

When organized on May 3, 1873, Keith County was named in honor of M.C. Keith of North Platte, who owned one of the largest ranches at that time in Western Nebraska. He was also the grandfather of Keith Neville, governor of Nebraska from 1917 to 1919. Ogallala was named as the county seat.

When the railroad passed through the area in the 1860s, the famous Texas-Ogallala Trail was forged to bring longhorn cattle to the shipping yards in Ogallala. From there they were transported to Midwestern markets or to Wyoming and Montana. With the cattle and cowboys came trouble. Ogallala's hotels and saloons served as sites for western cattlemen and Texas cattle kings to bargain over prices. History indicates that the gold flowed freely across the tables, the liquor across the bars, and occasionally blood across the floors. Ogallala became the site of the famous Boot Hill cemetery in 1875. For years it served as a burial place for settlers, transients and others who took part in the growth of Ogallala.

The Kingsley Dam on the North Platte River was constructed after the turn of the century to provide irrigation water for farmers in the central part of the state and hydro-electric power. For many years it was the world's second largest earthen dam. The lake that resulted, affectionately known as "Big Mac," is 25 miles long, has a shore line of about 100 miles, and provides a variety of recreational activities for tens of thousands of people each year.

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License Plate Number: 68

Time Zone: Mountain

Zoned County: Yes

Number of Veterans: 628

Voter Turnout (2022): 50.32%

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

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 30

State Lands (acres): Lake McConaughy SRA (37,032.77), Lake Ogallala SRA (559), Ogallala Rest Area EB (14.6), Ogallala Rest Area WB (13.2), Ogallala Strip WMA (456.04), Water Research Lab (1,120)

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)