August news from HIAMP
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Hawaii Agricultural Mediation Program

Welcome to the first e-newsletter of the Hawaii Agricultural Mediation Program (HIAMP). HIAMP is the official USDA-certified agricultural mediation program for Hawaii. HIAMP’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 HIAMP helps lenders, producers and others in the agricultural community resolve challenging issues and problems. This newsletter contains an article about how HIAMP can assist farmers and creditors in resolving credit problems which, if left unresolved, grow into bigger and bigger problems. For more information about HIAMP, please feel free to visit our website at and our Facebook page.

HIAMP 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. HIAMP 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 Outreach Coordinators

If you are facing an issue or just want more information about HIAMP, please contact one of the Outreach Coordinators, below:

Teya Penniman
Outreach Coordinator
Maui, Molokai & Lanai
(808) 447-1790 x108

Teya is the Outreach Coordinator for Maui County. She is a mediator, facilitator and attorney, with an interest in the intersection of agriculture and conservation. She worked with agricultural commodity boards in Oregon as an assistant attorney general and has collaborated with local and statewide agricultural groups during her time as the manager of Maui’s invasive species committee.
Joy Gold
Outreach Coordinator
Oahu & Kauai
(808) 447-1790 x106

Joy is the Oahu and Kauai HIAMP Outreach Coordinator. She is the former Interim Executive Director of the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation, and has an active consultant practice for more than 15 years in Hawaii.  Joy has worked with agricultural commodity groups such as pineapple, papaya, coffee, seed corn, and dairy.  Her strengths include building credible presence with government policy leaders and agencies, meeting facilitation, and administrative oversight.  She is a published poet, Po Ho, Waste Time, and Sansei.
Steve Bess
Big Island Outreach Coordinator
(808) 447-1790 x107

Steve is HIAMP’s Outreach Coordinator for the Big Island. His mediation experience spans 18 years and currently serves as a Director and Mediator for the West Hawaii Mediation Center Steve’s agricultural experience includes working with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, USDA and NRCS. Steve is a trustee of a working cattle ranch.  He received his professional mediator training at Harvard University and ombudsman training from the International Association of Ombudsman. His expertise includes the mediation of foreclosure disputes and serving as Commissioner for land sale foreclosures, Third Circuit Court.  Steve is experienced in matters relating to land use (agriculture and urban), water, eminent domain and public policy.  He has served as Hawaii County’s Corporation Counsel and is currently engaged in the private practice of law.

Copyright © 2016 Hawaii Agricultural Mediation Program (HIAMP), All rights reserved.

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