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SADC Wins $70,000 Grant to Assist Farmers in Settling Dispute
For Immediate Release: May 12, 2000 Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic


The State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) has been awarded a $70,000 federal grant to develop and implement an agricultural mediation program to assist landowners in settling credit, right to farm and other disputes, Agriculture Secretary Art Brown, Jr., announced today. "Mediation is an important tool for helping farmers work out solutions to the often complex problems that arise in running an agricultural operation," said Secretary Brown. "By bringing all parties to the table, we can focus on achieving a satisfactory solution for all parties without a lengthy and expensive legal process." "The mediation process will help our farmers overcome the kind of problems that otherwise could force them out of agriculture," said Governor Whitman. "This program is important not only for our farm families but for all New Jerseyans who want to see our farmland remain open and productive." The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency, which provides states with matching grants to administer mediation programs. Mediation is a process in which a trained, impartial individual helps parties look at their mutual problems, identify and consider options, and determine if they can agree on a solution. A mediator has no decision-making authority. Successful mediation is almost always based on the voluntary cooperation and participation of all the parties. It can save both time and costly legal fees. Instead of taking years for cases to filter through the courts, mediation generally takes only a few meetings to complete.

The SADC, which sponsored a three-day training session this week for more than two dozen mediators, will begin offering mediation services this month.