Mediate disaster-related financial issues – don’t procrastinate

Farmers who have experienced crop losses through drought or freeze may benefit by utilizing mediation services if they cannot meet financial obligations.

With so many Michigan producers anticipating crop losses during this season due to drought and freeze, revenues may fall short for loan and business expenses. One approach is to communicate with your lender to explore options for repayment through the Michigan Agricultural Mediation Program.

The Michigan Agricultural Mediation Program seeks to resolve issues between parties on a voluntary basis without cost to participants. The program is available statewide through established dispute resolution centers.

During a recent presentation to farmers at Michigan State University’s Ag Expo, David Gruber, Michigan Agricultural Mediation Program director discussed how the mediation process could look at difficult loan repayment situations brought on by poor weather conditions or other factors. “As some producers raise prospects for challenges with crop insurance, loans or credit disputes, they can contact the Michigan Agricultural Mediation Program dispute resolution centers. Mediation affords everyone the opportunity to be on the same page, share the same information and go from there. It’s important to address these issues early before parties set hard and fast positions that they’re unwilling to change.”

Requests for mediation can be made online at the Michigan Agricultural Mediation Program website, by calling the Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan office at 616-774-0121, or the Dispute Resolution Center for Eastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula at 989-672-4044, or by mailing in the form from the Michigan Agriculture Mediation Program brochure available in most county MSU Extension offices.

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