Kansas Agricultural Mediation Service

Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services (KAMS) has been the officially certified agricultural mediation program for Kansas since 1988. KAMS is funded through a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant program and administered by K-State Research and Extension. Kansas along with more than 20 agricultural states make up the Coalition of Agriculture Mediation Programs (CAMP).

KAMS specialists provide initial information and guidance at no cost through a toll-free hotline (l-800-321-3276). A state-wide network of cooperating agencies and programs includes a pool of trained agricultural mediators, K-State Research and Extension financial consultants and Kansas Legal Services (KLS). The program's goal is to help resolve conflicts and disputes using mediation.

  • Providing alternative dispute resolution opportunities for Kansas agricultural borrowers and creditors.
  • Providing dispute resolution for farmers with non-credit issues concerning other USDA agencies (FSA, NRCS, FCI).
  • Helping Kansas farmers facing financial adversity through the mediation process.
  • Revitalizing the economic base of rural communities.

What is Mediation?
The mediation process is designed to assist farmers, agricultural lenders and USDA agencies
resolve disputes in a confidential and non-adversarial setting outside the traditional legal process.

Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process in which a neutral third party (the mediator) helps
those in conflict identity issues, options, and possible solutions. A mediator does not make a determination nor a judgment of who is right or wrong. The mediator is there to facilitate open, frank discussion of the issues. The participants are encouraged to discuss all issues, options and possible solutions. A successful mediation is almost always based on the voluntary cooperation and participation of all the parties.

Who May Request Mediation?
Ag Credit Mediations. A mediation involving an ag credit issue may be requested by any Kansas agricultural borrower or creditor. Typical creditors include banks, suppliers, coops, implement dealers, Farm Credit Services, and the Farm Service Agency (FSA).
USDA Adverse Decision Mediations. Any Kansas agricultural producer who receives an "adverse decision" from a USDA agency will be given the option to request mediation as alternative to a formal appeal of that decision.

When Can Mediation Be Requested?
    Ag Credit Mediations. In an ag credit situation, mediation may be requested at any time. Typically, it is requested after a creditor (bank, supplier, co-op, implement dealer, etc.) advises the farmer that a loan or account is delinquent. More specifically, mediation is a formal step in the FSA's loan restructuring process if a borrower's request to restructure a direct Farmer Program loan(s) is denied.
_ USDA Adverse Decision Mediations. Mediation also may be requested when USDA sends written notice to a producer that an adverse decision has been made with respect to the producer's participation in a USDA program. As an alternative to a formal appeal, mediation must be requested within certain time limits stated in the written notice as an alternative to a formal appeal.

Support Services Available to Help Prepare for Mediation
Low-cost financial counseling and legal assistance can be provided to Kansas producers
who request service through KAMS. These services are designed to assist participants in preparing for mediation. Preparation of participants is a key element for mediation to be successfbl in resolving a dispute. The financial and legal services include the following:

Agricultural Financial Counseling. KAMS works with K-State Research and Extension to provide farm financial analysts who work with the farm family to analyze the profitability of the farm or ranch operation and develop options and alternative plans for the farm business to present at the mediation.

Legal Assistance. KAMS has an agreement with Kansas Legal Services, Inc., (KLS) toprovide direct legal representation to Kansas farmers and ranchers on a reduced-fee basis, depending on that person's level of income. KLS has regional offices throughout the state. Attorneys in these offices help clients understand the laws and regulations governing the issue involved in the mediation, as well as their rights and options.

What Is the Cost of Mediation?

  • Ag credit mediations are free to all Kansas agricultural borrowers and creditors.
  • For non-credit mediations involving USDA adverse decisions, there is a modest administrative fee plus the cost of the mediator, who is paid an hourly rate for time spent at the media tion session. Both the agency and the agricultural producer involved share equally in the cost of a non-credit mediation. A full or partial waiver of the mediator fee may be granted to producers who meet certain income criteria.
  • If participants wish to engage additional legal or financial advisors, they will be responsible for the cost of such advisors.

Why Participate in Mediation?

  • Maintains confidentiality
  • Restores communication and fosters important business relationships
  • Allows the parties to reach their own mutually acceptable solutions
  • Provides a time-saving, affordable alternative to appeals and litigation
  • Provides a neutral setting in which to openly discuss sensitive issues

The mediation process allows the parties to speak openly about the issues in a confidential manner. Kansas law provides, with some limitations, that mediations are confidential and privileged. None of the parties to a mediation can subpoena the mediator, and nothing specific to the mediation can be admissible in any later administrative or judicial proceeding.

Contact Kansas Agricultural Mediation Service

Forrest Buhler
K-State Research & Extension
2A Edwards Hall
Manhattan, Kansas  66506
Phone: (785) 532-6958
Fax: (785) 532-6532


Service Area

Statewide service provider in:
  • Kansas

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