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Ohio Ag News Headlines
Ohio Farm Resolution Services - Guiding Farm Transitions and Resolving Disputes
Ohio Ag Connection - 02/28/2024

Ohio Farm Resolution Services (OFRS), an initiative by Ohio State University in collaboration with the USDA Farm Service Agency's Certified Mediation Program, is empowering farm families with tools and guidance for farm transition planning and resolving landowner-neighbor disputes.

Robert Moore, an attorney and research specialist for the OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program, emphasized the importance of addressing farm transition and succession planning. The OFRS was established to provide tools, strategies, and ideas to initiate conversations around these crucial topics. Moore, who grew up on a dairy farm in Coshocton County, brings valuable insights from his 18 years of private law practice, particularly focusing on agricultural and landowner law.

OFRS, certified as a USDA mediation service provider since October of last year, goes beyond mediation for farm transitions. While the staff doesn't draft legal papers or act as attorneys, they assist families up to that point and mediate various farm- and landowner-related issues.

The goal is to foster positive outcomes and understanding before disputes become contentious. Moore mentioned that the group has already facilitated positive resolutions in three farm transitions, three farm lease agreements, two land-use zoning issues, and provided one farm business consultation.

Acknowledging that each situation is unique, Moore encourages farmers and landowners to reach out to OFRS for assistance. The initiative aims to help families plan for both short-term and long-term impacts on their farms and businesses.

Melinda Witten, Ohio Farm Bureau Senior Director of Leadership Development and a certified coach for Legacy Conversations, collaborates with OFRS. Legacy Conversations, part of the mediation process, offers valuable assistance in overcoming obstacles and cultivating fresh perspectives for farm families facing decision-making challenges.

As OFRS continues to spread awareness, Moore hopes their expertise can assist more families in navigating the complexities of farm transition planning and resolving disputes, contributing to the overall resilience of Ohio's agricultural community.

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