August news from VTAMP
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Vermont Agricultural Mediation Program

Welcome to the first e-newsletter of the Vermont Agricultural Mediation Program (VTAMP). VTAMP is the official USDA-certified agricultural mediation program for Vermont. VTAMP’s services are free to the agricultural community on many issues, including loans, credit problems, and adverse decisions from USDA agencies.

The purpose of this newsletter is to explain how VTAMP helps lenders, producers and others in the agricultural community resolve challenging issues and problems. This newsletter contains an article about how VTAMP can assist farmers and creditors in resolving credit problems which, if left unresolved, grow into bigger and bigger problems. For more information about VTAMP, please feel free to visit our website at and our Facebook page.

VTAMP is a trusted resource to serve the needs of the agricultural community. While no one can predict the future, some things are predictable in agriculture: Markets will continue to be volatile, weather will not always be cooperative, and federal farm programs will continue to be complex. All of the above factors, as well as many new ones, will create challenges. VTAMP will continue to help farmers, lenders, government agencies, and others in the agricultural community get through these challenges and get back to work.

-Matt Strassberg, Director

Resolving Credit Issues

Armed with the knowledge of what you can pay, and with the help of a trained mediator, you can set up a plan to resolve old debts and get back to doing what you do best: growing food for all of us.

Farmers sometimes find themselves in a catch-22 situation, where they need to obtain supplies or equipment to get crops in the ground, yet don't currently have the operating capital to cover those expenses. A loan from USDA Farm Service Agency or other lender can help fill that gap, and the loan officer will work with the farmer to determine a workable loan and payment amount. But there may still be a problem: the farmer has outstanding debts that must be addressed to qualify for the loan.

Old debts can be intimidating, especially if a number of creditors are involved. It may seem painful and insurmountable. Some debts may be so old they've been sold to a collection agency that tried for several years to extract payment. While the farmer may have "forgotten" about those old accounts, credit rating businesses have a long memory and that history informs a decision by the loan officer about whether they can help get you through this gap.

Mediators with the Agricultural Mediation Programs can help farmers and creditors come up with a payment plan that will work for everyone. During an initial meeting or phone call, the mediator will explain the process and what information they will need, but farmers can help ensure success by taking the following steps. [read more...]

"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." 
-Albert Einstein

Meet Your Program Directors

If you are facing an issue or just want more information about VTAMP, please contact one of the Program Directors, below:

Matt Strassberg
(802) 583-1100 x101

Matt is the director of the Environmental Mediation Center and the administrator of the EMC’s agricultural mediation programs. He is an attorney and mediator with over thirty years of experience in environmental law and mediation. He was the founding director of Green Mountain Environmental Resolutions, a dispute resolution firm focused on developing collaborative solutions to environmental and land use disputes. He is also a senior consultant with the Consensus Building Institute. He serves on the Steering Committee of the Coalition of Agricultural Mediation Programs and is listed on the roster of the US Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution.

Julie Hoyt
Associate Director
(802) 583-1100 x102

Julie is the Associate Director of the Environmental Mediation Center. Julie has worked with EMC since 2007 and currently assists in the administration of both the Vermont and New Hampshire Agricultural Mediation Programs. Julie is an attorney admitted to practice in both Vermont and Massachusetts. Julie’s mediation experience includes a variety of producer-creditor disputes, adverse decision letters arising from FSA loans, NRCS programs, Rural Development loans and many others.  Julie has experience working in the agricultural community working on issues affecting dairy and goat farms and fruit and vegetable growers.
Copyright © 2016 Vermont Agricultural Mediation Program (VTAMP), All rights reserved.

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