Mediation is a voluntary process in which a trained and impartial mediator helps disputing parties examine their issues, identify and consider options, and determine if they can agree on a solution. The mediator serves as a facilitator. helping the parties narrow their issues and look for solutions. Because the mediator has no decision-making authority, successful mediation is based on the voluntary cooperation of all the parties.

The Agricultural Mediation Program maintains a roster of certified mediators that it calls on when mediation is requested. Once each party in a dispute agrees to try mediation, the program assigns a mediator to the case and schedules a mediation session at a time and place convenient for all the parties. When the mediation session concludes, the mediator describes in writing any agreements that the parties have reached. The parties then sign the agreement and receive a copy.

Mediation is provided as a free service to all participants, with the Agricultural Mediation Program paying the cost for the independent mediator. Each mediation session is also confidential, and the process generally takes only a meeting or two to complete.

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