7 CFR 900.58 - Prehearing conferences.
In any proceeding in which it appears that such procedure will expedite the proceeding, the judge, at any time prior to the commencement of or during the course of the hearing, may request the parties or their counsel to appear at a conference before him to consider (a) the simplification of issues; (b) the possibility of obtaining stipulations of fact and of documents which will avoid unnecessary proof; (c) the limitation of the number of expert or other witnesses; and (d) such other matters as may expedite and aid in the disposition of the proceeding. No transcript of such conference shall be made, but the judge shall prepare and file for the record a written summary of the action taken at the conference, which shall incorporate any written stipulations or agreements made by the parties at the conference or as a result of the conference. If the circumstances are such that a conference is impracticable, the judge may request the parties to correspond with him for the purpose of accomplishing any of the objects set forth in this section. The judge shall forward copies of letters and documents to the parties as the circumstances require. Correspondence in such negotiations shall not be a part of the record, but the judge shall submit a written summary for the record if any action is taken.