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Newsroom

Fact Sheets

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July, 2003

 
ARCHIVED

 

 
Agricultural Mediation Program

 
Background

 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Mediation Program helps agricultural producers, their lenders, and other persons directly affected by the actions of USDA resolve disputes. Through mediation, a trained, impartial person (mediator) helps participants review their conflicts, identify options, and agree on solutions.

 
Mediation is a valuable tool for settling disputes in many different USDA program areas. These include farm loans, farm and conservation programs, wetland determinations, rural water loan programs, grazing on national forest system lands, and pesticides. The program, reauthorized by the United States Grain Standards Act of 2000, is administered by USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA).

 
How Mediation Works

 
Persons disputing USDA actions that directly affect them are offered the opportunity to request mediation services as part of the Department's informal appeals process. However, parties must request mediation before an appeals hearing is held with USDA's National Appeals Division. USDA customers may accept or decline the offer to participate in mediation.

 
If mediation is requested, FSA mediation officials suggest steps participants should take to prepare for mediation. Mediation officials then assign one or more mediators to the case. Participants may accept or eliminate these mediators. Once a mediator is accepted, all potential parties are advised that a mediation process is underway and given a chance to participate.

 
The mediator schedules a time and place to meet that is convenient to all parties. Mediation length can vary from a few hours to several days, depending on the complexity of issues and the number of participants. If an agreement is not reached, the case is closed and all parties remain free to pursue other available administrative appeals or legal actions.

 
Mediation services can also include counseling and financial analysis to prepare parties for the mediation session. These services are performed by USDA staff. In addition, many states provide mediation training and consultation services for producers, lenders, and USDA agencies.

 
Mediators

 
Unlike a judge or arbiter, a mediator has no decision-making authority, but is there to help participants resolve problematic issues and settle disputes. Successful mediation is based on the cooperation and involvement of all participants.

 
Mediation Benefits for Lenders and Borrowers

 
Successful mediation benefits participants in the following ways:

 
  • Mediation may settle disputes within a participant's financial means, providing a low-cost alternative to appeals or to often expensive litigation and bankruptcy.

 
  • The program may reduce stress caused by lengthy litigation. While it can take years for a case to filter through the courts, mediation generally takes only a few meetings to complete.

 
  • The program has a high success rate of 73 percent and is well supported by government officials and community leaders.

 
  • Mediation is confidential. Documents are not used for any other legal action against the participants.

 
  • Mediators can also provide referrals for producers and lenders and informally discuss with them issues or concerns.

 
Mediation Cost to Participants

 
Some states charge mediation participants a nominal fee. As fee amounts vary from state to state, please check with your local FSA office.

 
State Mediation Program Contacts

 
Certain states have a certified mediation program. This means that, at the request of the Governor, FSA has helped the state develop a mediation program authorized or administered by a state government agency or by the Governor. When mediation services are needed in a non-certified state, FSA contracts with a reputable mediator in the general public. A list of certified states and their mediation contacts are provided below. If your state is not listed, please contact your local FSA office.

 
Alabama

 
Lana M. Harms

 
Alabama Agricultural Mediation Program

 
Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries

 
P.O. Box 1554

 
Montgomery, AL 35902-1554

 
Tel: (256) 927-3257 or voice mail (334) 240-7301 mail box #1000

 
Fax: (334) 240-7270

 

 
Arizona

 
Eric Thor

 
Arizona Rural and Finance Training Program

 
Morrison School of Agribusiness and Resource Management

 
Arizona State University East

 
7001 E. Williams Road, Bldg. 40

 
Mesa, AZ 85212

 
Tel: (480) 727-1583 or cell phone (602) 320-4294

 
Fax: (480) 727-1211

 

 
Arkansas

 
Richard S. Johnston

 
Farm/Creditor Mediation Program

 
Arkansas Development Finance Authority

 
P.O. Box 8023

 
Little Rock, AR 72203

 
Tel: (501) 682-5895

 
Fax: (501) 682-5893

 

 
California

 
Carolyn Penny

 
Common Ground: Center for Cooperative Solutions

 
UC Davis Extension

 
1333 Research Park Dr.

 
Davis, CA 95616-4852

 
Tel: (530) 754-7060

 
Fax: (530) 754-5105

 

 
Colorado

 
Mark Gallegos
Colorado Department of Agriculture

 
2331 West 31st Avenue

 
Denver, CO 80211

 
Tel: (303) 480-9236

 
Fax: (303) 480-9236

 

 
Florida

 
Larry Arrington

 
Florida Cooperative Extension Service

 
University of Florida

 
1038 McCarty Hall

 
Gainesville, FL 32611-0210

 
Tel: (352) 392-0582 or (352) 392-0412

 
Fax: (352) 392-0414

 

 
Idaho

 
Suzanne McCorkle

 
Office of Conflict Management Services

 
Boise State University

 
1910 University Drive

 
Boise, ID 83725-1900

 
Tel: (208) 426-3776
Fax: (208) 426-4318

 

 
Illinois

 
Alicia Hill Ruiz

 
Southern Illinois University School of Law104

 
Lesar Law Building

 
Carbondale, IL 62901

 
Tel: (618) 453-5181

 
Fax: (618) 453-8727

 

 
Indiana
Linda Gray

 
Indiana Agricultural Mediation Program

 
Office of the Commissioner of Agriculture

 
150 W. Market Street

 
ISTA Center, Suite 414

 
Indianapolis, IN 46204

 
Tel: (317) 232-8770

 
Fax: (317) 232-1362

 

 
Iowa

 
Michael L. Thompson

 
Iowa Mediation Services

 
6200 Aurora Ave., Suite 608W

 
Urbandale, IA 50322

 
Tel: (515) 331-8081

 
Fax: (515) 331-8085

 

 
Kansas

 
Forrest Buhler

 
Kansas Agricultural Mediation Service

 
K-State Research & Extension

 
2A Edwards Hall

 
Manhattan, KS 66506

 
Tel: (785) 532-6958

 
Fax: (785) 532-6532

 

 
Louisiana

 
John K. Pierre

 
Louisiana State Agricultural Mediation Program

 
Southern University Law Center

 
P.O. Box 9294

 
Baton Rouge, LA 70813

 
Tel: (225) 771-4900 or (225) 925-2383

 
Fax: (225) 771-2474

 

 
Maryland

 
Jane Storrs

 
Agricultural Mediation Program

 
Maryland State Department of Agriculture

 
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway

 
Annapolis, MD 21401

 
Tel: (410) 841-5770

 
Fax: (410) 841-5987

 

 
Massachusetts

 
Susan M. Jeghelian

 
Executive Director

 
Massachusetts Office of Dispute Resolution

 
One Ashburton Place, Room 501

 
Boston, MA 02108

 
Tel: (617) 727-2224

 
Fax: (614) 727-6495

 

 
Michigan

 
Laura Bassein

 
Michigan Agricultural Mediation Program

 
State Court Administrative Office

 
P.O. Box 30048

 
Lansing, MI 48909

 
Tel: (517) 373-4839

 
Fax: (517) 373-5748

 

 
Minnesota

 
Rodney B Hamer

 
Farmer Lender Mediation Program Director

 
467 Coffey Hall

 
1420 Eckles Avenue

 
St. Paul, MN 55108-6090

 
Phone: (612) 625-1782

 
Fax: (612) 625-1955

 

 
Missouri

 
J. Chris Klenklen

 
Administrator

 
Missouri Department of Agriculture

 
1616 Missouri Blvd., P.O. Box 630

 
Jefferson City, MO 65102

 
Tel: (573) 751-5514

 
Fax: (573) 751-5516

 

 
Nebraska

 
Marian Beethe

 
Nebraska State Department of Agriculture

 
P.O. Box 94947

 
Lincoln, NE 68509-4947

 
Tel: (402) 471-2341 or (800) 446-4071

 
Fax: (402) 471-6876

 

 
Nevada

 
Don Henderson

 
Deputy Commissioner

 
Nevada Department of Agriculture

 
350 Capitol Hill

 
Reno, NV 89502

 
Tel: (775) 684-5333

 
Fax: (775) 882-5121

 

 
New Jersey

 
David Kimmel

 
State of New Jersey Department of Agriculture

 
P.O. Box 330

 
Trenton, NJ 08625-0330

 
Tel: (609) 984-2504

 
Fax: (609) 633-2004

 

 
New Mexico

 
Patrick Sullivan

 
New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service

 
P.O. Box 3003, Department 3AE

 
Las Cruces, NM 88003

 
Tel: (505) 646-2433

 
Fax: (505) 646-3808

 

 
New York

 
Tom Buckner

 
NYS Unified Court System

 
State Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution Programs

 
98 Niver Street

 
Cohoes, NY 12047

 
Tel: (518) 238-2888 ext. 234 (Collins); ext. 238 (Buckner)

 
Fax: (518)238-2951

 

 
North Dakota

 
Jeff Knudson

 
North Dakota Agricultural Mediation Service

 
North Dakota Department of Agriculture

 
600 East Boulevard, 6th Floor

 
Bismarck, ND 58505

 
Tel: (701) 328-4769 or 328-2231

 
Fax: (701) 328-4567

 

 
Oklahoma

 
Mac McCrory

 
Director

 
Institute for Issues Management & ADR

 
Oklahoma State University

 
2302 W. 7th Street

 
Stillwater, OK 74074

 
Tel: (800) 248-5465 or (405) 744-6477

 
Fax: (405) 377-1048

 

 
South Dakota

 
Shanon Nowell

 
South Dakota Agricultural Development

 
Joe Foss Building, 523 E. Capitol

 
Pierre, SD 57501-3182

 
Tel: (605) 773-5436 or (800) 228-5254

 
Fax: (605) 773-3481

 

 
Texas

 
D. Gene Valentini

 
Texas South Plains Association of Governments

 
Dispute Resolution Center

 
1323 58th Street, P.O. Box 3730

 
Lubbock, TX 79452-3730

 
Tel: (806) 762-8721 or (800) 858-1809

 
Fax: (806) 765-9544

 

 
Utah

 
Kyle R. Stephens

 
Deputy Commissioner

 
Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

 
P.O. Box 146500

 
Salt Lake City, UT 84114

 
Tel: (801) 538-7102

 
Fax: (801) 538-7126

 

 
Washington

 
JackHebner

 
Mediator Director

 
Fulcum Institute905 W. Riverside, Suite 304

 
Spokane, WA 99201-1099

 
Tel and Fax: (509) 838-2799

 

 
Wisconsin

 
Jo Ann Prust

 
Wisconsin State Farm Mediation and Arbitration

 
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture,

 
Trade and Consumer Protection

 
2811 Agriculture Drive

 
P.O. Box 8911

 
Madison, WI 53708

 
Tel: (608) 224-5052

 
Fax: (608) 5110 or 224-5111

 

 
Wyoming

 
Lucy Hansen

 
Wyoming Agriculture and Natural Resources Mediation Program

 
2219 Carey Avenue

 
Cheyenne, WY 82002-0100

 
Tel: (307) 777-7323

 
Fax: (307) 777-6593

 

 
National Office Contact

 
Chester A. Bailey

 
Farm Service Agency

 
USDA Agricultural Mediation Program

 
USDA/FSA/OS

 
Stop 0511/Room 3716-S

 
1400 Independence Ave., SW

 
Washington, D.C. 20250-0511

 
Tel: (202) 720-1471 or (202) 720-7619 (OS)

 
Fax: (202) 690-0644 or (OS) 690-4727

 

 

 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).

 
To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C., 20250-9410, or call (202) 720-5964 (voice or TDD).

 
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

 

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