The U.S. Agriculture Department has designated Utah County as a natural disaster area due to an ongoing drought and last spring's frost, the Utah governor's office said Tuesday.

Under such a designation, farmers who lost crops due to the drought or the April 28-May 5 killing frost can apply for Farmers Home Administration emergency loan assistance.The federal agency said it has determined Utah County farmers "sustained sufficient production losses" to warrant the natural disaster declaration.

Under such a declaration, family farmers in all neighboring counties - Carbon, Duchesne, Juab, Salt Lake, Sanpete, Tooele and Wasatch counties - also may qualify for FmHA emergency loan assistance, officials said.

Eligibility for such emergency loans is determined on a case-by-case basis, the Agriculture Department said, based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

From Jan. 1 through Sept. 30 of this year, all 29 Utah counties had been covered by a similar natural disaster declaration because of the drought, now in its fourth year. That declaration was terminated at the end of the federal government's 1990 fiscal year, on Sept. 30.