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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs, genetic information, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).
To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
A: The Colorado Department of Agriculture established the Colorado Agricultural Mediation Program in 2002 to help farmers and ranchers who are dealing with contentious issues.
A: The mediation process allows the parties to speak openly about the issues in a confidential manner. Colorado law provides, with some limitations, that meditations are confidential and privileged. None of the parties to mediation can subpoena the mediator, and nothing specific to the mediation can be admissible in any later administrative or judicial proceeding.
A: Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process that helps identify issues, options, and possible solutions. It gives customers an option before resorting to litigation. As a neutral third party, the mediator does not determine who is right or wrong and only serves to facilitate open, frank discussion of the issues. A successful mediation is based on the voluntary cooperation and participation of all the parties.
A: Most importantly, mediation maintains confidentiality, restores communication, and fosters important business relationships. It provides a neutral setting where individuals can openly discuss sensitive issues and reach acceptable solutions. The minimal cost of mediation provides an affordable alternative to litigation.
A: Mediation usually begins after contact between agricultural producers and other parties have failed. Mediation may be initiated by either party and may include counseling and financial analysis.
A: Individuals with disputes have the opportunity to request mediation services. Mediation officials then assign one or more mediators to the case, and participants may accept or eliminate these mediators. Once a mediator is accepted, all potential parties are advised that mediation is underway and can participate. The mediator schedules a time and place to meet that is convenient to all parties. The process can vary from a few hours to several days, depending on the complexity of the issues.
A: The fee for mediation begins at $50 per party for the first four hours and $25 per party for each additional hour. Participants are responsible for all additional legal or financial advisors.
A: Contact the Colorado Agricultural Mediation Program, if you have questions or would like additional information. The program is administered by the Colorado Department of Agriculture Farm Products Section.