Gov. Norm Bangerter has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declare Box Elder County a disaster area because two years of below-normal rainfall have ravaged crops.

"Many crops were not worth harvesting, and several livestock herds were forced from summer ranges because of forage and water shortages," Bangerter wrote in a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Richard E. Lyng.Bangerter wrote that the farming and livestock industry are vital to Utah's economy. "Many were relying on this year's harvest to meet their indebtedness," he wrote.

A report by the U.S. Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service said that of 1,115 farmers in the county, five lost 100 percent of their crops and 160 have lost from 70 percent to 99 percent.

"The northern half of the state of Utah has experienced below normal snow and rainfall during the past two years," Bangerter wrote. "As a result, we are experiencing severe drought conditions in several counties."