Cache County's farmers have seen their fields baked by relentless summer heat, and the county may soon become Utah's first to seek a drought designation, Extension Agent Don Huber says.
"Streamflows are dangerously low in many parts of the county, and yields are far below normal on many of the dryland grain crops now being harvested," Huber said Monday.Clarkston farmer Norm Ravsten, who has been dry farming in Cache County more than 30 years, said he has never seen a time when fields have been this dry.
Ravsten said he has lost nearly half his wheat crop, and he expects to lose all of his 400 acres of barley, which he had planned to feed to his swine.
Kent Hortin, coordinator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Bear River Resource Conservation and Development Office, said representatives of federal and county agencies have been meeting to make sure all criteria have been met before asking the Cache County Council to make the official designation, he said.
"Reservoirs are running very low, and there is still a lot of time left in the irrigation season," Hortin said. "Wells are drying up rapidly, and this is all having a very negative impact on production of food and fiber."
Hortin said that once a drought designation is made, the county would become eligible for emergency low-interest loans and emergency feed assistance programs and other drought relief.