Proposed new rules could help hundreds of Utah farmers who are behind on their Farmers Home Administration loans.

The new regulations will carry out parts of the Agricultural Credit Act passed by Congress last December, said E. Lee Hawkes, Farmers Home Administration Utah state director."There will be a 30-day comment period and additional time for any appropriate changes before the regulations become effective," Hawkes said.

Comments can be submitted to Chet Bailey, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farmers Home Administration, Farmer Program Division, 5019 South Building, Washington, D.C. 20250. A copy of the regulations appeared in the Federal Register.

One change would allow the administration to reduce the delinquent debt of certain borrowers to help them stay in business. This could benefit as many as 280 borrowers in Utah and more than 16,000 nationwide. The "writedown" could amount to $18 million in Utah and $2.1 billion nationally.

Other regulations would:

-Make it easier for farmers or their families to lease or buy back homesteads that have been lost through foreclosure or conveyance.

-Set up a program to help members of minority and socially disadvantaged groups to purchase farmland and develop an outreach program.

-Establish a new administrative appeals unit to handle borrower grievances.

-Certify and participate in the state mediation program.

LOGAN - Scientists from around the world will visit Utah State University in July to learn about growing things in the desert.

Charles Gay, coordinator of the three-week intensive summer course, said an array of natural resource professionals has been assembled to lecture on desertification, geography, climatology, soils, hydrology, plants, the causes of desertification and reversing the impacts of degradation.

They will discuss and provide case histories on range improvements, water management and selecting and growing plant materials.

The short course will feature field trips to Deseret Ranch near Randolph, the Forest Service Shrub Lab in Provo, Curlew Valley near Snowville and the Jensen Historical Farm in Cache Valley and technical sessions on establishing and managing budgets, management, work plans, accounting and extension.