Drought has dealt Utah farmers and ranchers so hard a blow this year that two-thirds of the state has qualified for federal emergency drought relief, according to Agriculture Stabilization & Conservation officials.
Ross Ballard, an conservation program specialist, said Wednesday that every county in Utah except 10 have qualified for the emergency relief program, which will pay cattle producers from 20 to 50 percent of the cost of any emergency feed they must buy because of the drought.Ballard said funds for the emergency feed program should begin arriving in Utah later this month or the first of July and will continue for 12 months.
He said an emergency drought relief program last year in Utah cost the federal government about $10 million and this next year's drought relief program could cost as much or more.
The only counties in Utah not qualifying yet for the emergency feed program are Box Elder, Cache, Rich, Weber, Morgan, Davis, Salt Lake, Tooele, Juab and Millard.
"It is just a matter of days until the high mountains of Rich and Morgan counties and western Box Elder County, including the Park Valley and Grouse Creek areas, qualify for drought relief - things are so bad there," Ballard said. "The western desert areas in Tooele, Juab and Millard counties will probably also qualify for the emergency payments."