Benefits of mediation
Mediation can provide many benefits, including helping to ensure that disagreements and disputes that threaten the economic success of farms are addressed quickly and confidentially.
Mediation is a voluntary and flexible process that helps disputing parties come together to have an open, honest, and confidential discussion about the issues. A trained mediator helps parties to identify and communicate their needs, explore options available to them and find an end to the conflict through mutually agreed upon solutions. A mediator does not act as a judge or decide who is right or wrong. The parties shape the outcome of the mediation and the terms of any agreement they reach.
People often choose to mediate because it:
- Is informal and impartial
- Can resolve disputes more quickly and less expensively
- Creates an environment for open discussion
- Creates an environment for creative problem solving
- Helps maintain and build relationships
- Has a high compliance rate for agreements because the parties agree to the terms
What does the Mediator do?
Mediators facilitate communication so that parties can express themselves clearly and calmly, identify and focus on the issues, explore options for resolution, and record the agreement.
What Happens in a Mediation?
In most mediations the mediator meets with all of the parties at the outset to explain the process and then asks each party to explain their perspective on the issues, share relevant information and data, and express their goals for an outcome. The session may continue with everyone together or the mediator may meet privately with each party to explore the issues in greater depth in a confidential setting. Through these joint and private meetings the mediator will help the parties explore options that will meet their underlying needs and hopefully arrive at a solution that is acceptable to all involved. If the parties reach agreement the mediator will help them reduce it to writing. If they are not able to agree they have not waived any of their legal rights.
Before a mediation session a CTAMP staff member or mediator can provide information to the parties about how to prepare for the mediation.
If the USDA agency issues you an adverse determination, the agency will offer you the option of mediation and the agency must participate if you request it within the USDA deadline. (See more on Appeal Deadlines below). In addition, mediation may be available to agricultural borrowers and creditors when a loan is delinquent or is at risk of becoming delinquent.
Request mediation early. Mediating early usually prevents a conflict from escalating. Once you notify the Connecticut Agricultural Mediation Program (The Program) of your decision to mediate, The Program will contact the relevant parties, and schedule a mediation session within 30 days, or as soon as all parties can be available.
About Appeal Deadlines. If you are a borrower appealing a USDA decision or a USDA adverse determination, request mediation as soon as possible upon receiving the notice of the decision or adverse determination, in order to stay the period of appeal. Address any questions regarding time limits for appeals to your local USDA office.