Janel Koons with Kansas Ag Meditation Services

(Janel Koons) My name is Janel Koons and I am with Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services. We’re administered by K-State Research and Extension here in Kansas. We are a USDA funded program and help producers if they ever have any ag legal, financial or mediation questions. We do get a lot of producers calling into our program and asking for information about ag credit situations. We can help provide them support services such as agricultural financial counseling as well as legal assistance. We do have an attorney here on staff, his name is Forrest Buhler and he often helps callers over the phone and answers questions and it doesn’t cost anything to talk with him confidentially. We encourage producers to be pro-active and give us a call and we can help find them the support that they need. We’ve been the ag mediation program for Kansas for around 30 years. And there are several other states with programs but ours is kind of unique in that we are also an educational service. Often producers will call in and we’ll just help guide them through questions that they might have that may be about lease issues, fence law, estate planning, several different types of questions that they can call in about, just to help producers prepare for mediation if that is needed. We want them to participate in a mediation with a lot of the tools and resources that they need to answer questions that other participants of the mediation might have. One of the most common types of calls we get are about ag credit questions. That can be maybe loan re-structuring, or looking at financial debt and some cash flow issues. Producers will call in with that type of question and we’ll get them connected with our attorney here on staff and he’ll kind of help them explore what their options might be. A lot of times they’re going to visit with a farm financial analyst who’ll come out to their farm and help them go over the books. They’ll run a computer software just to look where their cash flow issues might lie and what their feasibility options are. And then they have a chance to go back and visit with their lender, and keep moving forward, renegotiate some loans and that kind of thing. So that’s one of the primary types of cases that we work on. And it doesn’t necessarily involve mediation at the end of all that. They usually can get things resolved by having a visit from a farm financial analyst. Again we do handle a lot of ag credit situations as well as USDA programs. We work a lot with the Farm Service Agency as well as NRCS. Our phone number for our office is 1-800-321-FARM and we just remind producers that we are a confidential and safe place to call and we encourage them to be pro-active and hope that we can help answer their questions and give them some guidance.

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