Oneida County commissioners have joined those in neighboring Franklin County in declaring a drought disaster, making some local farmers eligible for state and federal assistance.

According to the Malad office of the U.S. Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, this year's drought is the worst Oneida County has experienced since the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s.Winter wheat yields are expected to be cut by 50 percent or more, and ASCS officials indicate spring grain crops will be hit even harder. Severely dry conditions also are hurting alfalfa.

Oneida County Clerk Joyce Freidenberger said the county's disaster relief request has been forwarded to the state Department of Agriculture.