For issues covered under the USDA program, our services are at no cost to the participants. For other agricultural issues, if no other sources of funding are available, we may charge an administrative fee for the mediation. This fee is determined by a sliding scale. EMC will let you know in advance what the fee will be.
All of the mediators on our roster have experience in agricultural mediation cases and have had extensive careers in mediation, several are lawyers, and many were raised in farm families.
We have mediators located throughout the state and meditations can be scheduled at a time and a place that works for all parties. We have mediated in state and federal offices, law firms, pastures, barns, and around kitchen tables throughout the state.
Most parties turn to mediation only after trying to resolve the issues on their own. Even when parties have tried everything they can to fix the problem, mediation can often be successful. Mediators help by re-establishing communication between parties, clarifying the issues and managing the process so that people are able to get together and discuss the problems. The opportunity to sit down with a mediator often encourages parties to brainstorm broader solutions and talk about how to move forward.
The mediation process can sometimes surface lots of feelings as parties are trying to resolve issues that have, over time, created misunderstandings and ill will between them. More often than not we find that parties who have been angry at each other for a long time find some common ground and a way to re-connect with one another as business partners, neighbors, or community members.
Parties report that mediation is effective because it allows parties to work together quickly and informally and may reduce the costs associated with litigation or formal agency review. Sometimes mediation focuses solely on making the best economic decision under the circumstances and has little to do with emotions or feelings. Each mediation is different and the circumstances of each case is unique. Ultimately, the goal of mediation is to end the conflict and creating tangible results.
Before the mediation, the mediator will ask the participants who is going to be there and that way everyone is prepared for the event. In some cases, parties are already represented by attorneys, however, most of the time, we find that just the parties attend the mediation. Sometimes, parties arrange for an attorney to be available by phone and will consult with them during breaks at the mediation. We always encourage participants to have trusted advisers review any agreements prior to signing, for example, an attorney, financial adviser or accountant.
Sometimes parties do not reach agreement on all of the issues they have come to discuss. If the parties cannot reach a complete agreement, it is possible to reach a partial agreement on some things and it is also possible that no agreement is reached. Once the mediation process has ended, parties can pursue other options that existed prior to the mediation. Attempting mediation does not prevent parties from trying other avenues of resolution.
Mediation is not a solution for everyone, but in many cases, participants are able to resolve differences and come to agreements. Even in cases where no agreement was reached, participants often feel that they have a better understanding of the issues and are better prepared for the next step. For information about what people working with us say about the program, please read our testimonials.