Mediation Program Assists Farmers, Lenders, Creditors, and the USDA Resolve Issues
The Michigan Agricultural Mediation Program assists farmers when issues arise between them and the USDA agencies, creditors, and lenders. Many of them are forced to deal with credit, loan, wetland determinations, crop insurance, compliance, and other issues, and need support to resolve the matters. It is common for misunderstandings to arise and blossom into serious issues that can interfere with the business matters farmers face.
Mediation provides an alternative means of resolution when farmers do not want to participate in the formal appeals process. Specially trained mediators work with parties involved to help them avoid the long and arduous process of dealing with appeals and legal disputes. If mediation fails, all parties have the option of filing an official appeal or seeking out alternative legal remedies.
Mediation is completely voluntary. A neutral mediator oversees the process and listens to both sides of the dispute. The mediator helps everyone involved to explore potential resolution. He or she has no authority to advocate for either side or to insist either side comply with any resolution. The power to resolve the issue and in what matter remains completely with those most affected – the parties involved in the dispute.
Other benefits of agricultural mediation include remaining confidential, which allows parties to speak honestly and openly about their opinions and their ideas for resolutions. Mediation also helps to preserve relationships, which in many cases are mutually beneficial. It can also help those involved avoid disputes in the future once the initial problem is resolved. Finally, mediation allows for creative solutions that suit farmers and their associates – something that can be impossible to achieve when resolving the dispute in other venues.