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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Phelps County

Communities and Development

Phelps County Seat: Holdrege

Total County Population (2020): 8,968

  • Cities (pop. & class): Holdrege (5,515 • 1st Class)
  • Villages (pop.): Atlanta (106), Bertrand (709), Funk (175), Loomis (391)
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of county pop.): 2,072 (23%)

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

  • Agriculture: 91%
    • By method: Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (75%); Pasture (pure grassland) (10%); Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (6%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Corn 53%, Soybeans 26%, Livestock (grassland) 12%, Alfalfa 2%, Wheat 1% • USDA - equals agriculture's % plus some wetlands (2%) and minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 9%

County Offices

Courthouse Address and Hours:

715 5th Avenue
Holdrege, Nebraska 68949
M-F 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

County Board Chairperson: Theresa Puls

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: First 4 Tuesdays

View the County's Government Maps

Visit the County Fairgrounds

NACO District: Central

District President: Carrie Miller, Nuckolls County Clerk, Register of Deeds, Election Commissioner

District Vice President: Kali Bolli, Garfield County Assessor 

District Secretary/Treasurer: Cara Snider Wheeler County Clerk

NACO Board Representatives: Bill Maendele, Buffalo County Commissioner


Population: 8,968
Land area (sq. mi.): 539.79
Population per square mile: 16.6

Race and Age


White: 90.8%
African American: 0.4%
American Indian: 0.2%
Asian: 0.3%
Hispanic: 6.1
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Two or More Races: 1.9%


0-17: 24.4%
18-64: 55.3%
65+: 20.2%


Personal income per capita: $63,430
% of Population in Poverty: 11.3%
# of Housing Units: 4,149
Owner-occupied rate: 72.6%
Median home price: $165,240


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 33.0%

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: 92.5%

School Districts: Axtell Community Schools, Bertrand Public Schools, Elm Creek Public Schools, Holdrege Public Schools, Kearney Public Schools, Loomis Public Schools, Overton Public Schools, Wilcox-Hildreth Public Schools

Bachelor's degree or higher: 25.6%

Community College Service Area: Central Community College

Countywide child care capacity: 18 providers; 497 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.

Phelps County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $806,531,000

Cattle Producers: 111

  • Pastureland Cash Rent (avg.): $40/acre

Crop Producers: 293

  • Dryland Cash Rent (avg.): $115/acre
  • Irrigated Land Cash Rent (avg.): $275/acre

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: Aurora Cooperative, CHS, CPI

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

Farmers Market: Holdrege Area Farmers Market (May - September, Thursdays 4:30 - 7:00 p.m.)

Oil Wells Producing (barrels of oil/yr): 8 wells (32,260 barrels)

Electricity Providers: City of Holdrege, Southern PPD, Twin Valleys PPD

Rail-served Communities: Atlanta, Bertrand, Holdrege, Funk, Loomis

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

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 2,233

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 43

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: $0.1857 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $4,328,396

Total local government property taxes levied: $32,094,774

Total countywide taxable valuation: $2,331,076,834

Click here for all levy rates in Phelps County

County Levy and Taxation Laws

Levy limits

Since 1996, counties and other political subdivisions have been subject to levy limits under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-3442 and Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-3443.

Statutes and regulations

Nebraska Revised Statutes (Chapter 77)

Nebraska Administrative Code (Title 350)

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 Halloran (District 33)
Committees: Agriculture, Business and Labor, Government, Military and Veterans Affairs

Map and statistics for Legislative District 33

State Senator: Dave Murman (District 38)
Committees: Education, Revenue, Committee on Committees

Map and statistics for Legislative District 38

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Phelps County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 5

Year Authorized: 1873

Year Organized: 1873

Etymology: William Phelps (early Nebraska settler)

The Platte River played a significant role in the early development of Phelps County. The Oregon Trail and Pony Express route passed along the south bank of the river and brought many travelers and freight shipments through the area in the mid 1800s. Soil conditions found in this area prompted many to homestead here. One of those was Moses Sydenham, who maintained a ranch and post office he called Hopeville in what today is the northeast corner of the county.

Like other locales in this part of the territory, the area was not without conflicts between Native Americans and settlers. While these attacks forced many settlers to leave, Sydenham resisted. He took his family to an island on the Platte River, then returned to Hopeville and hoisted a Union flag to give the impression that soldiers where stationed there. Hopeville was never attacked.

Within a few years the settlers returned to the area. By 1873 the area's population prompted Gov. Robert W. Furnas to proclaim a special election to organize the county and elect officials. The county was named Phelps, after former Mississippi Riverboat Captain William Phelps, who it is said settled in the area. Williamsburg, in the northwest corner of the county, became the county seat.

In 1878 the first in a series of fights took place to relocate the county seat. Phelps Center, in the heart of the county, and Sacramento, in the southeast corner, brought the question to a vote of the people. Neither location garnered enough votes. In an election the following year, Phelps Center was victorious.

When a railroad branch line passed through the county, the "Magic City of the Plains" sprung up along the line. Named in honor of George Holdrege, the construction superintendent for the railroad, it too entered the contest to become county seat. After local businessmen took it upon themselves to build a courthouse, county voters agreed in 1884 that the county offices should be moved from Phelps Center to Holdrege.

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Local Highlights

License Plate Number: 37

Time Zone: Central

Number of Veterans: 578

Zoned County: Yes

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 74

Election Data

Voter Turnout (2022): 60.78%

Number of Registered Voters (2020): 6,169

Number of Precincts (2020): 13

Number of Election Day Polling Places (2020): 3

Land Area per Polling Place (2020): 179.93 sq. miles

Intergovernmental Data

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

Natural Resource Districts: Tri-Basin NRD

State Lands (acres): High Basin WMA (117.90), Sacramento-Wilcox WMA (2,319.90), West Sacramento WMA (391)

Federal Lands (acres): Atlanta WPA (1,147.08), Cottonwood WPA (637), Funk WPA (1,996.40), Johnson WPA (577.44), Jones Marsh WPA (165.97), Linder WPA (160)

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)