Serving Montana Agriculture and growing prosperity under the Big Sky

Rural Assistance

Rural Assistance Programs

The Montana Department of Agriculture offers a variety of grant, loan and outreach programs to assist rural communities and ag-related businesses. Browse a selection of our rural programs and services below, visit a program page for detailed information, and submit your business information to the MDA Ag Business Directory to receive updates from MDA business development staff on marketing and sales opportunities for you to consider..
Rural Assistance Loan Program

Provide loans to producers with modest financial investments in agriculture

Loans are available to persons who are unable to qualify for financing from commercial lenders. However, the activity for which the loan is requested and the financial position of the applicant must show a positive cash flow and net worth

The total value of an applicant's net worth, including those of spouse and minor children, cannot exceed $450,000

The maximum loan amount is $75,000 per individual

Loans are made up to 80% of the value of the collateral used to secure the loan

Funds may be used to finance agricultural property, improvements, annual operating expenses, and agricultural land

Growth Through Agriculture Grants & Loans

Strengthens and diversifies Montana's agricultural industry through development of new agricultural products and processes

Projects should add value to Montana's agricultural products and have the potential to create and/or retain jobs in Montana

Projects may potentially be funded in a single application for a total amount of $150,000 in the form of grant funding up to $50,000 and loan funding up to $100,000

Project activities involve equipment purchases, advertising and promotion, and consultant services

A $1 for $1 match is required for all proposals

Food & Agricultural Development Centers

The FADC network help Montanans innovate and grow businesses that produce and commercialize food, agricultural and renewable energy products and processes

The centers- located in Joliet, Havre, Butte, and Ronan- operate as a statewide network serving community-based businesses throughout Montana

The centers support economic development by ensuring that more of the state's food, agricultural and energy dollars circulate in Montana

The network provides training, coaching and technical assistance, including product development, regulatory compliance training, food processing, business planning, market research, networking, financing, and more

Other Rural Assistance Programs

The Montana Beginning Farm/Ranch Loan Program is a tax-exempt bond program designed to assist beginning farmers and ranchers to acquire agricultural property at lower interest rates.

Beginning Farm/Ranch Loan

Getting a new market off the ground requires some initial start-up money. Start-up costs can include printing for vendor recruitment and publicizing the market, advertising, signage such as banners or sandwich boards to guide customers to the market, and liability insurance if not provided by the site owner. Depending on the site and property owner specifications, portable toilets may be required.

Farmers Market Assistance

The Montana Junior Agriculture Loan Program was developed to assist and encourage members of agricultural youth organizations in financing agricultural projects.

Junior Agriculture Loans