Frequently Asked Questions
What is "Mediation"?
- USDA agencies offer mediation to anyone who has received an adverse decision as part of the informal appeals process.
- Mediation is an informal process in which an impartial mediator facilitates communications between parties in an effort to help the parties reach agreement.
- The mediator is not a judge and cannot impose a solution on the parties.
- Instead, the mediator, through active listening skills and facilitative techniques, helps the parties work toward resolution.
What Are the Benefits of Mediation?
- It offers parties an opportunity to start working on a resolution right away, without waiting through a lengthy appeal process.
- It allows parties who are most familiar with the dispute to devise their own solutions, confidentially.
- Mediation helps restore communication between disputing parties while it preserves and enhances important business relationships.
- Mediation provides an impartial setting in which to openly discuss all issues involved, including sensitive financial matters and personal issues that might not be considered in an appeal or litigation setting.
- It may save everyone the time and cost involved with the appeal process or litigation.
Who Can Request Mediation?
- Ag Credit Mediations. A mediation involving an ag credit issue may be requested by any Kansas agricultural borrower or creditor. Typical creditors include banks, suppliers, coops, implement dealers, Farm Credit Services and the Farm Service Agency (FSA).
- USDA Adverse Decision Mediations. Any Kansas agricultural producer who receives an "adverse decision" from a USDA agency will be given the option to request mediation as alternative to a formal appeal of that decision.
When Can Mediation Be Requested?
- Ag Credit Mediations. In an ag credit situation, mediation may be requested at any time. Typically, it is requested after a creditor (bank, supplier, co-op, implement dealer, etc.) advises the farmer that a loan or account is delinquent. More specifically, mediation is a formal step in the FSA's loan restructuring process if a borrower's request to restructure a direct Farmer Program loan(s) is denied.
- USDA Adverse Decision Mediations. Mediation also may be requested when USDA sends written notice to a producer that an adverse decision has been made with respect to the producer's participation in a USDA program. As an alternative to a formal appeal, mediation must be requested within certain time limits stated in the written notice as an alternative to a formal appeal.