In agricultural mediation, parties meet with a mediator to discuss and decide farm issues. Mediation provides a forum for face-to-face conversations that is facilitated by an impartial mediator. It’s both voluntary and confidential. Mediators help communication and support the parties own decision-making.
Based on decisions reached during mediation, a written agreement can be created and a copy provided to all parties. Agreements are only written when all parties decide they would like one.
Common issues for mediation:
- Loans or debts
- Right to farm complaints
- Neighbor complaints
- Labor problems
- Landlord / tenant
- USDA appeals
Mediation is also useful to farm families facing difficulties or planning needs involving:
- Custody and visitation (parenting plans)
- Separation and divorce
- Siblings / in–law out–law
- Finance and business planning
- Elder care and planning
- Unpaid bills / loan restructuring
- Small claims and credit
- Family farm succession and transfers
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I begin the mediation process?
Contact the Mediation Center for a confidential intake. An intake conversation is designed to learn more about the situation and explain how mediation works in more depth, but there is no obligation to mediate. A staff member will talk with you about the issues you would like to address in mediation and if you decide to move ahead, staff will contact the other parties to talk with them as well. Mediation is provided when all parties have decided that they want to schedule a session.
Who are the mediators?
Mediators are professionally trained staff and volunteers that have received extensive training and are certified by the Mediation Center.
How much does mediation cost?
There is no fee for mediation of matters related to agricultural enterprise. Mediation services for other matters such as divorce and family concerns have fees. The program is underwritten by a grant from the USDA and the Unified Court System in collaboration with the New York State Dispute Resolution Association (NYSDRA). The Mediation Center contracts with NYSDRA to provide this program in Dutchess County.