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What is Mediation?

Mediation is a form of dispute resolution where parties meet with a neutral mediator to help guide them toward agreement.

The mediator does not make decisions, they serve only to ensure all avenues to resolution are explored.

The role of the mediator is to facilitate conversation, establish ground rules and make sure that everyone has an opportunity to voice their position.

Why Mediation?

  • Parties control the process and the outcome.
  • Provides a rapid time frame for decisions.
  • Provides an opportunity to avoid costly litigation.
  • Provides a confidential forum to discuss complex issues.
  • Promotes fair solutions to both sides of the dispute.
  • Provides alternative solutions to issues and problems.
  • Provides neutral, trained mediators.

Who May Apply for Mediation?

Producers, creditors and other persons involved or affected by an agriculture related dispute.

Who are the Mediators?

All mediators are Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) employees who have completed mediation training. MDA practices a co-mediation model to ensure a broad range of expertise in the room and to aid in the resolution of disputes.

What Types of Disputes does MDA Mediate?

Any disputes where agriculture is involved can be mediated by the Montana Department of Agriculture. Requests will be considered on a case by case basis.

Disputed Issues may Include:

  • USFS grazing permits
  • Ag credit
  • USDA adverse decisions
  • Neighbor / neighbor conflicts
  • Ag family estate planning
  • Easement / access issues
  • Ag business disagreements
  • Agriculture related water issues

How does the Process Work

Ag Mediation Program
PO Box 200201
Helena, MT 59601

  • Once the request is received, MDA staff will contact each involved party.
  • Either party can accept or reject the request for mediation.
  • Once the parties agree to mediation, MDA will assign a mediator, all parties will be notified and a date, time and place will be set for the mediation to take place.
  • Plan the whole day for mediation. Some mediations may only take a couple of hours, others may take several days.
  • Mediations are voluntary and either party may end the mediation at any time without reaching an agreement.
  • Once the parties have reached an agreement, the mediator will draw up the agreement and both parties will sign.
  • At the end of each mediation, each party will be invoiced. Payment is expected at the end of the meeting.

What is the Cost of Mediation

The cost of mediation is $100 per hour, per party; however, if the mediation involves USDA, there is no charge. Payment will be due immediately following the conclusion of mediation.

If the cost of mediation is not affordable, contact the program manager.

P.O. Box 200201
Helena, MT 59620

Phone: (406) 444-5424
Fax: (406) 444-9442
E-mail: ag.mediation@mt.gov

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Call (406) 841-2770

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Ag Mediation Program available from the Montana Department of Agriculture and USDA

Ag Mediation Program available from the Montana Department of Agriculture and USDA

Mediation is a process that helps disputing parties come together and have an open, honest and confidential discussion about the issues. A trained mediator helps the parties explore options that are available to them and find an end to the conflict through mutually agreed upon solutions. The mediator does not act as a judge, deciding who is right or wrong. The parties themselves control the result of the mediation and any agreement that is developed. Mediation is another tool to help agricultural producers and natural resource managers make wise decisions.

Public comment period open for Cherry Checkoff Program

Submit your comments online until Monday, September 18, 2017

Pursuant to Montana Code Annotated 80-11-513, the Department of Agriculture is interested in hearing your comment on whether the Cherry Checkoff Program should be eliminated. Click here to submit your comment online.

Jim Auer
Grants Coordinator

Phone : (406) 444-5424
E-mail : Ag.mediation@mt.gov
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601

Ag Mediation Forms & Files

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