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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

Ag News

Montana Cherry Growers to Receive Survey

Survey results will determine future of cherry checkoff

Montana Cherry Growers to Receive Survey

Helena, Mont. –  Montana’s cherry growers will have the opportunity to make their voice heard in the coming weeks. The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) is submitting a referendum to all known growers and producers of cherries in Montana to determine whether to continue the Montana Cherry Research & Market Development Program, commonly known as the cherry checkoff. Paper ballots will be mailed on Thursday, November 16, 2017 and must be returned via postage-paid envelope by Friday, December 1, 2017.

Meeting Notice: Hail Board, 2017 Crop Year Annual Report Available

November 29, 2017 at the Heritage Inn in Great Falls

Meeting Notice: Hail Board, 2017 Crop Year Annual Report Available

The State Hail Board will meet on November 29, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. at the Heritage Inn in Great Falls, MT. Click here for the meeting agenda. 

The Hail Insurance Program 2017 Crop Year Annual Report is also now available. Click here to view or download the report.

Meeting Notice: Agriculture Development Council - Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) Program

November 17, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. via Skype/Teleconference

Meeting Notice: Agriculture Development Council - Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) Program

The Agricultural Development Council will meet regarding the Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) Program on November 17, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. via Teleconference/Skype. Click here to view or download the draft agenda, which includes details to join the meeting on Skype or by calling in.

Jim Auer
Grants Coordinator

Phone : (406) 444-5424
E-mail :
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601

Ag Mediation Forms & Files

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