Three northern Utah counties hard hit by the drought have qualified for two relief programs that provide limited emergency feed assistance to qualified farmers and ranchers, officials said Tuesday.

"Morgan, Cache and Box Elder counties are designated not as disaster counties, but they are qualified for at least two programs - the emergency feed and emergency feed assistance programs," said Edison Stephens, deputy Utah Agriculture commissioner.Under the first program, qualified farmers can receive assistance of up to 50 percent of the cost for livestock feed. The second program entitles participants to buy 75 percent of their feed for sheep, cattle and goats under the subsidized rate for grains held by the federal government's Commodity Credit Corp.

The three counties are the only ones in the state to qualify for the assistance thus far, said Stephens. But, "I think we will have more counties qualify, especially in the northern part of the state."