Ag loan mediation program recertified The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently recertified South Dakota's Agricultural Loan Mediation Program though September 2001.
"We are pleased to provide this service to the agricultural borrowers and lenders of the state," said Jon Farris, director for the State Division of Agricultural Development. "Mediation provides a way to resolve financial disputes in a confidential setting."
Keith Kelly, USDA Farm Service Agency administrator, notes that the South Dakota Agricultural Loan Mediation Program "? continues to offer voluntary mediation services to farmers, ranchers and agribusiness; mediation training; outreach services to the agricultural and financial communities statewide; and maintain confidentiality."
Linda Hodgin, director of South Dakota's Agricultural Mediation Program, said that 82 percent of all mediation meetings resulted in an agreement being reached.
"That helps our producers consider mediation to be a positive alternative," she said. "Our agricultural finance counselors helped 281 farm or ranch families this past year prepare for mediation and evaluate their financial alternatives."
The recertification gives South Dakota the authority to continue operating farm loan mediation programs. South Dakota is one of 25 state programs that have been certified for the upcoming fiscal year. States are now awaiting reauthorization of USDA's Certified State Mediation Program in the 2001 Agricultural Appropriations Bill currently before Congress.
In South Dakota, the Loan Mediation Program is administered by the State Department of Agriculture's Division of Agricultural Development. The division also administers value added, grain and livestock marketing, loan programs, agricultural finance counseling, dairy development and service programs such as the Hay Hotline, and the Harvest Hotline.