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Grants & Loans

Beginning Farm & Ranch Loan Program


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.


The program enables Montana lenders, individuals, partnerships and other entities to receive federally tax-exempt interest from bonds associated with a loan or contract sale made to a beginning farmer or rancher. The financial institution, after arranging the loan or sales contract, will obtain a federally tax-exempt bond through the department, serving as Montana Agriculture Loan Authority, in the amount of the loan or unpaid balance. The loan and its collateral are assigned to the financial institution as security for the bond.


Applicant Eligibility

  • The beginning farmer/rancher must be at least age 18. There is no upper age limit.
  • A beginning farmer/rancher must be a first-time producer regardless of the loan purpose. A first-time farmer/rancher is a person who has never had any direct or indirect ownership interest in an operation of which he/she has materially participated. An ownership interest or material participation by a spouse or minor child will be attributed to the person as well.
  • The beginning farmer/rancher must have a net worth not to exceed $450,000.
  • The beginning farmer/rancher must be a Montana resident at the time the bond is issued.
  • The beginning farmer/rancher must have documented, to the satisfaction of the bond purchaser and the authority, sufficient training and experience in the type of farming/ranching operation for which the bond is requested.
  • The agricultural land, improvements and depreciable property must be used for farming/ranching by the beginning farmer/rancher, his or her spouse, or minor children.

The department recognizes some provisions of the program (summary link below) may be confusing to would-be applicants and lenders. Program staff can assist in answering questions or completing documents. Beginning farmers/ranchers and bond purchasers are encouraged to visit with the staff early in the application process for assistance.




Walt Anseth
Agricultural Finance Program
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 444-2402
E-mail: WAnseth@mt.gov
Fax: (406) 444-9442


Published: June 1, 2011 2:02:00 PM MDT.
Last Modified: August 6, 2014 4:27:06 PM MDT