The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified State Mediation Program has restored failed communications between numerous farmers and lenders and assisted many economically stressed farm families to stay in business. The Farmers Home Administration (FmHA), an agency of the USDA, has certified and provided matching grants to state mediation programs. These state mediation programs are operated primarily by state universities and state departments of agriculture. The USDA mediation programs have allowed farm borrowers and their creditors to work out joint solutions, avoiding human suffering and the costly and time-consuming processes of administrative appeal, foreclosure, and litigation.

I. Introduction

II. History of the USDA Mediation Program

III. How State Agricultural Mediation Works

IV. USDA Lender Objectives in Mediation

V. Non-USDA Lenders in Mediation

VI. Effectiveness of State Agricultural Mediation

VII. Improving Mediation Services to Farmers and Lenders

VIII. Benefits and Costs of State Agricultural Mediation

IX. USDA Certified State Mediation is Consumer Friendly