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Nebraska Counties Explorer

McPherson County

McPherson County Seat: Tryon

Total County Population (2020): 399

  • Municipalities: None
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of county pop.): 399 (100%)

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

  • Agriculture: 99%
    • By method: Pasture (pure grassland) (96%); Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (3%); Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (0.33%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Livestock (grassland) 95%, Corn 1%, Sorghum 0.5%, Alfalfa 0.5% • USDA - equals agriculture's % plus some wetlands (2%) and minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 1%

County Offices

Courthouse Address and Hours:

500 Anderson Street
Tryon, Nebraska 69167
M-F 8:30 am - 12:00 pm; 1:00 pm - 4:30pm

County Board Chairperson: John Bryant

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: 2nd Wednesday

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 McPherson County (west of Tryon)


Population: 399
Land area (sq. mi.): 859.26
Population per square mile: 0.5

Race and Age


White: 94.7%
African American: 0.0%
American Indian: 1.0%
Asian: 0.5%
Hispanic: 0.8%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Two or More Races: 2.8%


0-17: 17.9%
18-64: 55.4%
65+: 26.6%


Personal income per capita: $63,343
% of Population in Poverty: 13.1%
# of Housing Units: 232
Owner-occupied rate: 72.0%
Median home price: $93,190


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 60.3%

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: 90.8%

Bachelor's degree or higher: 23.7%

School Districts: Arthur County Schools, McPherson County Schools, Stapleton Public Schools


McPherson County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $26,025,000

Cattle Producers: 75

Crop Producers: 32

  • Dryland Cash Rent (avg.): $121/acre
  • Irrigated Land Cash Rent (avg.): $247/acre

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: AGP, Aurora Cooperative, CHS, CPI, Central Valley Ag, Fairfield Non-Stock Co-op, Farmers Coop, Gottsch Cattle Company, KAAPA Ethanol, Pillen Family Farms

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

Electricity Providers: Custer PPD, PREMA

Rail-served Communities: Ayr, Gaines, Hastings, Hayland, Juniata, Kenesaw, Roseland

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

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 648

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 1

Click for real time:

Groundwater level data near NE Hwy 92 & Snyder Dr. (10.5 mi. west of Tryon)


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: $0.2286 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $777,159

Total local government property taxes levied: $3,605,267

Total countywide taxable valuation: $340,011,148

Federal PILT payment to McPherson County (FY2022): $118 regarding 40 federally-owned acres

Click here for all levy rates in McPherson 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: Mike Jacobson (District 42)

Standing Committees (click for scheduled committee hearings): 

Select Committees:

  • Committee on Committees

Special Committees: 

  • Legislative Performance Audit
  • Statewide Tourism and Recreation Water Access and Resource Sustainability

Map and statistics for Legislative District 42

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

McPherson County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 0

Year Authorized: 1890

Year Organized: 1890

Etymology: James McPherson (U.S. army general)

     In 1887, the Legislature established McPherson County from the last remaining unorganized Nebraska territory. Before Arthur County seceded, the county stretched all the way west to present-day Garden County. Unlike many other newly organized counties, McPherson County was a late-bloomer, growing by only one hundred residents over two decades. However, following the passage of the Kinkaid Act in 1904, the county grew from around 500 residents to its largest population of nearly 2,500 people. The Kinkaid Act was intended to enhance the Homestead Act of 1862 by allowing homesteaders to file and obtain a patent after five years on a full section of land (640 acres) instead of the previously allowed quarter-section (160 acres).

     By 1910, the county seat of Tryon was booming, serving as a major regional hub in the Sandhills. While other counties experiencing infighting among larger, more established ranches and newly arrived “Kinkaiders,” McPherson County witnessed a camaraderie among ranchers and pioneers from all walks. This may have been due to the fact that most county residents had only themselves to count on—the county did not own any railroad property for revenue and the levies were mainly born by the larger ranches.

     The goodwill did not last. Residents of western McPherson County continued their calls to move the county seat from Tryon to the more centrally located Flats, but the heavily populated eastern side of McPherson County repeatedly voted down ballot initiatives. The infamous “Pauly Jail cells purchase” of 1912 finally prompted secessionist action. According to historical accounts, the cells cost the county $1,300 while the entire building that housed them cost only $180. Western county residents initiated legal proceedings that culminated in the creation of Arthur County in 1913.

     Today, ranching and farming continue to drive McPherson County’s economy, and Tryon still remains one of only two unincorporated county seats (Banner County’s seat of Harrisburg is the other). The county’s early spirit of self-reliance, kinship, and industriousness continue to characterize this tight-knit community.

McPherson County Excellence:

     Throughout the year, McPherson County Sheriff Thomas Burch and his deputy frequently assist local cattle producers during cattle drives. When producers move cattle around the county, the Sheriff's Department follows the herd and places lights on the herd which protect the cattle and local motorists.

     Cattle form an important part of McPherson County's economy, with at least 75 local producers responsible for 41,000 cattle and calves in 2022, according to the USDA.

Local Highlights

License Plate Number: 90

Time Zone: Central

Number of Veterans: 2,223

Zoned County: Yes

Election Data

General Election Turnout (2022): 64.93%

Number of Registered Voters (2020): 352

Number of Precincts (2020): 1

Number of Election Day Polling Places (2020): 1

Land Area per Polling Place (avg.) (2020): 572.62 sq. miles

Intergovernmental Data

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

Natural Resource Districts: Upper Loup NRD, Twin Platte NRD

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)