7 CFR 785.1 - General.
(a) States meeting conditions specified in this part may have their mediation programs certified by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and receive Federal grant funds for the operation and administration of agricultural mediation programs.
(b) USDA agencies participate in mediations pursuant to agency rules governing their informal appeals processes. Where mediation of an agency decision by a certified State mediation program is available to participants in an agency program as part of the agency's informal appeal process, the agency will offer a participant receiving notice of an agency decision the opportunity to mediate the decision under the State's certified mediation program, in accordance with the agency's informal appeals regulations.
(c) USDA agencies making mediation available as part of the agency informal appeals process may execute memoranda of understanding with a certified mediation program concerning procedures and policies for mediations during agency informal appeals that are not inconsistent with this part or other applicable regulations. Each such memorandum of understanding will be deemed part of the grant agreement governing the operation and administration of a State certified mediation program receiving Federal grant funds under this part.
(d) A mediator in a program certified under this part has no authority to make decisions that are binding on parties to a dispute.
(e) No person may be compelled to participate in mediation provided through a mediation program certified under this part. This provision shall not affect a State law requiring mediation before foreclosure on agricultural land or property.