The California Agricultural Mediation Program (CALAMP) is a free service aimed at addressing a variety of issues for farmers and ranchers. CALAMP assistance covers a multitude of areas including issues of debt, farm loans, and crop insurance. CALAMP is the official U.S. Department of Agriculture certified agricultural mediation program for California. The mediation services that are offered can help keep working relationships intact and provide an avenue for resolving financial challenges.
“The lion’s share of the work we do involves financial issues,” said CALAMP Director, Matt Strassberg. “We’re not an advocate for one party or the other, but we sit down and try to work out installment payment plans that might be able to help. Sometimes some of the creditors will reduce interest or make other incentives for the farms to make payments and that works for the farmer, and it works for the creditors.”
CALAMP assistance was initially offered as a means for addressing farm loans. The program has since grown to encompass issues that involve federal agencies, creditors, and others. The program was expanded under the 2018 Farm Bill to cover a broader array of issues including organic certification, credit counseling, and farmer-neighbor conflicts. Issues of family farm transitions have also been included in areas where CALAMP can provide valuable mediation services.
“A lot of farms are facing an interesting time when they’re not quite sure what the future looks like. Maybe they have kids that work on the farm and some that work off the farm,” said Jenna Muller, Northern California Program Coordinator and a Mediator with CALAMP. “So, figuring out a plan that feels fair and equitable to all members of the family is another area that we can help.”
More information about how to access CALAMP assistance and the types of mediation services that are offered is available online.
Listen to the interview below.