Oklahoma Ag Mediation Offers Producers a Helping Hand With Ag Related DisputesWed, 21 Jul 2021 11:18:47 CDT
Oklahoma Ag mediation is a free service that covers all 77 counties in Oklahoma to provide mediation to agriculture producers who may need help with ag-related disputes or conflicts.
Associate farm Director, KC Sheperd spoke with Mike Mayberry, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Agriculture Mediation program, and he says their goal is to be a neutral party that doesn't take sides but helps both parties find a compromise, "The two people that are in dispute can agree to come to mediation and work with the mediator and try to resolve the issue, whatever it might be."
Mediation is also very different from litigation. Mediation is an agreement of both parties to come to the room and resolve the issues. Mayberry says the mediator is always neutral and doesn't take sides or make decisions, but encourages both sides to compromise and work out the problems on agreeable terms, "Generally we have a 90+% success rate." and They try to have the case settled within 30 days. "There's very little stress in mediation, and I work very hard to make the parties comfortable and work through the real issues that will help us solve the issue."
Mayberry says there are around 14 issues that mediation is allowed to help with. However, he says the most common issues he hears about are from producers who have tried to get into a USDA program and have been denied for some reason, "They are eligible to ask for mediation to give it a second look as to why they were turned down."
With Medical Marijuana grow houses popping up across Oklahoma, Mayberry says they can mediate with overspray, or pesticide issues, where somebody else's pesticide has impacted a producer. Still, Mayberry said USDA does not allow them to mediate on Pure marijuana type-cases, 'The Grant does not provide for us to yet deal with marijuana cases, not because of Oklahoma laws, but because it hasn't been settled in Washington yet."
If a producer has an issue with a neighbor over-spraying, Mayberry says that is something they can certainly help with, "If it's an overspray case that qualifies as one we can help with. They might range from whatever plants then the neighbor is growing, being negatively affected or their trees. It could be a honeybee case where the spray hit the honeybees and negatively impacted them." Mayberry says its always better to just call and find out, "It's better to call us and say can you help? And then we can determine at that point, yes we can, or no we can't."
Mayberry reminds producers that if you are going to seek mediation for a USDA matter that you have to do so within 30 days of being notified, "If they miss that window, they may not be able to go forward."
These services are available at no cost for Oklahoma farmers and ranchers in all 77 counties. For more information, you can go to ok.gov/mediation. Or call 405-521-3934
or Toll-Free: 1-800-248-5465
To hear KC and Mike's complete conversation over ag mediation, click or tap below..
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