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

Farm transition mediations will be billed at $25 per hour per party for hours spent in mediaiton. Mediations regarding USDA adverse decisions will be done free of charge. 

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

P.O. Box 200201
Helena, MT 59620

Phone: (406) 444-9126
Fax: (406) 444-9442
E-mail: ag.mediation@mt.gov

Ag News

Virtual Marketing Consultations Available Through Ag Development & Marketing Bureau

MT Dept. of Agriculture marketing team is scheduling consultations with businesses for the week of April 19th

Virtual Marketing Consultations Available Through Ag Development & Marketing Bureau

The Montana Department of Agriculture's marketing team is looking forward to connecting with Montana food and ag businesses as they schedule virtual marketing consultations for the week of April 19th. Our marketing officers are taking this opportunity to learn more about different companies across the state and explore how the department can help them reach their goals. 

If you are interested in setting up a virtual marketing consultation, please contact Marty Earnheart at (406) 444-9126 or mearnheart@mt.gov

Click here to learn more about the Agricultural Marketing & Business Development Bureau at Montana Department of Agriculture. 

Public Meeting Notice: MT Pulse Crop Committee - April 21, 2021

Virtual MT Pulse Crop Committee Meeting April 21, 2021

Public Meeting Notice: MT Pulse Crop Committee - April 21, 2021

The Montana Pulse Crop Committee will meet virtually via Zoom on Wednesday, April 21st beginning at 3:00 p.m. 

To receive Zoom meeting information, please contact Dani Jones at Danielle.Jones@mt.gov

Click here to learn more about the MT Pulse Crop Committee. 

Early Bird Registration for Montana Farm to School Summit Open Until May 31st

The Montana Farm to School Summit "Digging Deeper" will be held August 11 - 12, 2021 in Helena, MT

Early Bird Registration for Montana Farm to School Summit Open Until May 31st

The Montana Farm to School Summit "Digging Deeper" will take place August 11 - 12, 2021 in Helena, MT. 

Attendees will learn and share hwo Montana school programs are cultivating success through the core elements of farm to school--serving local foods, school gardens, nutrition, agriculture, and food education. Workshops, field trips, and networking opportunities will provide inpsiration and skill building for all. The conference will feature national and Montana farm to school champions and Harvest of the Month successes and resources.

Discounted early bird registration is open until May 31st. Click here to register.

Scholarship applications are now open until May 6th. Click here to apply. 

Click here to visit the MT Farm to School Summit website.


Marty Earnheart
Marketing Officer

Phone : (406) 444-9126
E-mail : Ag.mediation@mt.gov
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601

Ag Mediation Forms & Files

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