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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Thomas County

Communities and Development

Thomas County Seat: Thedford (208)

Total County Population (2020): 669

  • Villages (pop.): Halsey (68), Thedford (208)
  • Unincorporated Pop. (% of county pop.): 393 (59%)

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

  • Agriculture: 80.5%
    • By method: Pasture (pure grassland) (80.75%); Irrigated (row crop/grain/forage) (0.75%); Dryland (row crop/grain/forage) (0%) • Neb. Dept. of Rev. - total equals agriculture's %
    • By commodity: Livestock (grassland) 96%, Alfalfa 0.25%, All Other Crops 0.36% • USDA - equals agriculture's % plus some wetlands (1%) and minus public grassland/wetlands and reserve
  • Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Conservation Reserve & Exempt (combined): 19.5%

County Offices

Courthouse Address and Hours:

503 Main Street
PO Box 226
Thedford, Nebraska 69166
M-F 8:00 am -12 pm; M-Th 1:00 - 4:00 pm; Fri 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

County Board Chairperson: Pam Moody

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: 1st & 3rd Tuesday

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 Thomas County (south of Thedford)


Population: 669
Land area (sq. mi.): 712.58
Population per square mile: 0.9

Race and Age


White: 93.1%
African American: 0.0%
American Indian: 0.4%
Asian: 0.0%
Hispanic: 4.3%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Two or More Races: 2.1%


0-17: 23.8%
18-64: 47.3%
65+: 29.0%


Personal income per capita: $61,324
% of Population in Poverty: 12.3%
# of Housing Units: 379
Owner-occupied rate: 74.4%
Median home price: $141,740


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 42.6%

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

Employment, Schools, and Child Care

Unemployment rate: 2.1% (as of September 2022)

County Employment Website:

High school graduate or higher: 97.7%

School Districts: Mullen Public Schools, Sandhills Public Schools, Thedford Public Schools

Bachelor's degree or higher: 24.6%

Community College Service Area: Mid-Plains Community College

Thomas County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $35,563,000

Cattle Producers: 55

  • Pastureland Cash Rent (avg.): $17/acre

Crop Producers: 15

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

Electricity Providers: Custer PPD

Rail-served Communities: Halsey, Seneca, Thedford

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

Total Irrigation/Livestock Wells: 421

Surface Water Diversions (Irrigation): 7

Click for real time:

Streamflow data on the Dismal River near Thedford

Groundwater level data near Main St. & Railroad St. in Thedford

Groundwater level data near N. Seneca Ave. (14 mi. northwest of Thedford)

Groundwater level data near N. Seneca Ave. & Broadway St. (13.5 mi. northwest of Thedford)


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: $0.2416 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $865,304

Total local government property taxes levied: $3,628,112

Total countywide taxable valuation: $358,135,298

Federal PILT payment to Thomas County (FY2022): $118,486 regarding 79,648 federally-owned acres

Federal SRS payment to Thomas County (FY 2022): $47,347.74 regarding the Nebraska National Forest

Click here for all levy rates in Thomas 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

Thomas County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 1

Year Authorized: 1887

Year Organized: 1887

Etymology: George Thomas (U.S. army general)

Thomas County's early development can be tied directly to the westward advancement of the railroad. As a result, the county's early history dates back only to the 1880s.

The first homestead claim in this area was filed in 1880. It would be seven years later before the Nebraska Legislature would create the county's boundaries and name the area after Civil War Gen. George H. Thomas.

Prior to the county being organized, this area in the heart of the Nebraska Sandhills was primarily open range pasture land used by cattlemen who brought their herds north from Texas to sell to the government. The government used the beef to feed the Indian reservations in South Dakota.

But it was the railroad which played the most prominent role in the county's development as it followed the Loup River. By the mid to late 1880s the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy line stretched from the county's east to west boundaries. Along the route the railroad designated five stations: Norway, Natick, Halsey, Thedford and Seneca. The latter three eventually became the county's only settlements.

Thedford was designated as the county seat when the county was organized. In 1887, the year the railroad line reached the settlement, a post office opened. About the same time the county's first courthouse was built. It would be replaced in 1922 by the present courthouse.

Passage of the Kinkaid Act in 1904 had a big impact on Thomas County. In the 1890 census, only 517 residents were reported. With the Kinkaid Act many new settlers came to the area in hopes of farming the 640 acres of land they received. The county's all-time high population of 1,773 residents was recorded in 1920. But since the region was not conducive to farming, many of these "Kinkaiders" left the area by 1930. Those who remained bought the abandoned homesteads and created large ranches. In 1940, 14 ranches were said to contain nearly 3,500 acres each.

In addition to large cattle ranches, Thomas County is also home to the Nebraska National Forest located between the Loup and Dismal Rivers.

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Local Highlights

License Plate Number: 89

Time Zone: Central

Zoned County: Yes

Number of Veterans: 48

County Library: Thomas County Library

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 9

Election Data

General Election Turnout (2022): 64.34%

Total Registered Voters (2020): 501

Number of Precincts (2020): 1

Number of Election Day Polling Places (2020): 1

Land Area per Polling Place (avg.) (2020): 712.58 sq. miles

Intergovernmental Data

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

Natural Resource District: Upper Loup NRD

Federal Lands (acres): Bessey Ranger District National Forest (90,233 acres in Blaine & Thomas counties)

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)