Alternative agriculture is promoted as a means of enhancing rural area jobs and income. This nontraditional agricultural activity is defined as: new crops or products to an area, industrial uses of agricultural products, value-enhancement activities, and urban agricultural activities. The potential for new agriculturally-related activities is summarized. The long-term rural economic and development potential, through new income and jobs, is assessed. Next, five case studies are provided to illustrate alternative agriculture successes, limited successes, and failures (Guayule, Jojoba, Muscadine grapes, market windows for fresh fruit and vegetables, and aquaculture). We conclude that alternative agriculture may be viable in select rural areas. However, total employment generation potential is too small and diffused to provide significant rural development impacts.