What is Mediation? Mediation is an effective means for people in conflict to address the issues involved and to arrive at a solution acceptable to everyone. Mediation involves impartial mediators helping you and the others in your dispute, but not giving advice or opinions. At the mediation, each party will identify their needs and interests as well as solutions for the future.
How much does mediation cost? There is no charge to the participants involved in mediation. The mediators travel expense, fees, and the session facility fee are paid by RSI
How do I know if I'm eligible for mediation? If you receive an adverse decision letter from any of the USDA agencies giving you the option for mediation then you are eligible.
What are the benefits of mediation? The sessions are confidential and help to build strong working relationships with producers, their lenders and the government agencies they work with. Parties who have reached their own agreement are generally more satisfied with solutions that have been mutually agreed upon, as opposed to solutions that are imposed by a third party decision-maker. Mediation often provides a more timely way of resolving disputes.
Where will the mediation take place? The mediation location will be a neutral site for all parties involved. The selected location may involve all participants travelling some distance.
What will happen at the mediation? The mediation process starts by giving each party an opportunity to share their view of the conflict with no interruption. You should be prepared to discuss what has brought you to mediation and what your needs and interests are in the conflict. This is an opportunity to lay out your concerns, not to "make your case". Mediation is not about proving anything: it's about resolving differences and finding a workable solution.
The mediator will then help you shift gears to problem solving. Problem solving involves all parties looking at possible ways to resolve the issue at hand. As there is usually more than one issue to work on, their part of mediation demands creativity and flexibility on the part of you and other parties. Your mediator will help you arrive at an appropriate solution for all parties within the scope of the law.
When an acceptable solution is found, the mediator will write up an agreement for all parties to sign. Everyone who signs will receive a copy of the agreement. This agreement is a contract, and all those who sign it are expected to live up to its terms.
Can I still appeal my case if mediation doesn't work? You have the right to exercise any of the remaining appeal options that you were given in your adverse decision letter at the conclusion of the mediation process.