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Serving: WI

New Mediators Needed for Farm Mediation and Arbitration Program

Program looking for volunteers to help settle ag business disputes.

The Wisconsin Farm Mediation and Arbitration Program, which provides services to farmers involved in agricultural business disputes, is calling for applications to fill a limited number of volunteer mediator openings.

Although applicants are welcome from anywhere in Wisconsin, they are especially needed in the southwestern region and the northern half of the state. Previous experience in agriculture or mediation is helpful, but not required. Among those who should consider applying are current or retired professionals with experience in agriculture including agriculture instructors, extension agents, lenders, attorneys, and accountants.

The mediation program is provided by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Applicants who are accepted must complete a 40-hour training course. The training will be Nov. 6-7 and Nov. 17-19 in Appleton. This training is designed to meet all currently accepted standards for basic mediation training and should provide prospective volunteers with the skills necessary to provide mediation services. Lodging and meals will be provided during the training.

Once volunteers have completed the training and joined the program, they receive additional training by observing mediation sessions, co-mediating, and getting feedback from experienced mediators. We provide administrative support related to mediation cases assigned to volunteers, continued training support and additional training opportunities, and cover all expenses related to mediation services provided by volunteers.

Established in 1986 as a USDA Certified Agricultural Mediation Program, Wisconsin's farm mediation program assigns mediators to help farm families in Wisconsin by providing a neutral, cost effective way to resolve issues, improve communication, and move forward. It provides mediation services to farmers at no charge for issues related to their agricultural business relationships, including USDA and other credit disputes, USDA program disputes, issues between neighbors such as fence disputes, environmental, and land use issues, and disputes between partners or members of a limited liability corporation.

For more information or an application, call mediation coordinator Jo Prust at 608-224-5052 or toll-free at 800-942-2474.

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