The Missouri Department of Agriculture offers direct loans through the Agriculture Development Fund to finance the production, processing and marketing needs of an alternative agricultural enterprise.


  • Applicant must be a legal Missouri resident and the project must be located in Missouri
  • Applicant must be a minimum of 14 years of age
  • Maximum loan - $20,000
  • Interest Rate - 5.9%
  • Maximum term of loan - 5 years with semi-annual payments

What is an agricultural alternative?

An agricultural alternative project is doing something different from what traditional rural operations are currently doing. It may be taking a traditional enterprise and adding a new twist such as butchering your own livestock and selling the meat or milling your own wheat and making baked goods. An alternative for one person is not necessarily an alternative for another person. Look at your area and seek out profitable opportunities.

Examples of projects:

  • Horticulture production (fruits & vegetables) and marketing (portable greenhouses, project-related equipment)
  • Aquaculture (fish, cages, project-related equipment)
  • Apiaries (bees, project-related equipment)
  • Tree farming, shrubs, landscaping plants
  • Fee hunting areas (birds, cages, registered bird dogs)
  • Portable greenhouses, irrigation equipment, refrigeration cooling units
  • Landscaping/lawn care business to include lawn mowers, trimmers, mulchers, leaf blowers, mower trailers, sprayers, etc.
  • Organic production enterprise (livestock & livestock products, horticulture)
  • Value added enterprises (processing equipment, packaging)
  • Farm mechanics projects for high school FFA students and 4-H students.

Before beginning an alternative enterprise, check resources, talk to others, look for something in demand, visit markets and observe what is selling, attend conferences/workshops, read, read, read and plan, plan, plan.

Alternative Loan Application

Other Information

Borrower must be able to provide proof of citizenship, identity and legal Missouri residence. If the borrower employs laborers, he/she must also provide proof of enrollment and participation in the federal work authorization program.

For more information, please contact the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.