Selection of arbitrators.
The department shall select as arbitrators persons who have the character and ability to serve as arbitrators and who have knowledge of arbitration or other conflict resolution processes. The department may provide training in arbitration processes, resolving conflicts or agricultural issues as part of process of selecting arbitrators or to arbitrators selected by the department to enable arbitrators to maintain the skills necessary to perform their functions under this section.
Compensation of mediators and arbitrators.
Mediators and arbitrators shall be compensated for travel and other necessary expenses in amounts approved by the department.
Immunity of mediators and arbitrators.
Mediators and arbitrators are immune from civil liability for any act or omission within the scope of their performance of their powers and duties under this section.
Forms and publicity.
The department shall prepare all forms necessary for the administration of this section and shall ensure that forms are disseminated and that the availability of mediation and arbitration under this section is publicized.
Exclusion from open records law.
All mediators and arbitrators shall keep confidential all information and records obtained in conducting mediation and arbitration. The department shall keep confidential all information and records that may serve to identify any party to mediation and arbitration under this section. Any information required to be kept confidential under this paragraph may be disclosed if the department and the parties agree to disclosure.
The department may promulgate rules necessary to implement this section. The department may promulgate rules defining owners and creditors of agriculturally related businesses and permitting owners and creditors of such businesses to participate in mediation and arbitration subject to the same terms and conditions applicable to farmers and creditors under this section.
Suspension of court action to allow for voluntary mediation or arbitration. 93.50(2m)(a)
During the pendency of any action, the court may, upon the written stipulation of all parties to the action that they wish to engage in mediation or arbitration under this section, enter an order suspending the action.
A suspension order under par. (a)
suspends all orders and proceedings for the time period specified in the suspension order. In specifying the time period, the court shall exercise its discretion for the purpose of permitting the parties to engage in mediation or arbitration without prejudice to the rights of any person. The suspension order may include such other terms and conditions as the court may deem appropriate. The suspension order may be revoked upon motion of any person or upon motion of the court.
If all parties to the action agree, by written stipulation, that all issues before the court are resolved by mediation or arbitration under this section, the court shall dismiss the action.
If the parties do not agree under par. (c)
or if the court revokes the suspension order under par. (b)
, the action shall proceed as if no mediation or arbitration had been attempted.
Participation in mediation.
A farmer or a person having a dispute with a farmer who wishes to resolve a dispute between them, either before an action has been initiated to which they are parties or after entry of a suspension order in an action to which they are parties under sub. (2m)
, may participate in mediation under this section in accordance with this subsection if the dispute is of a kind specified in par. (am)
Disputes that may be mediated.
The following kinds of disputes may be mediated under this section:
A dispute between a farmer and a creditor involving the farmer's agricultural property and the creditor's claim affecting the agricultural property.
A dispute in which one party alleges that an action by, or condition of the property of, the other party is a nuisance.
A dispute involving air, water or soil contamination or other environmental issues.
A kind of dispute specified as eligible for mediation by the department by rule.
A dispute that is not specified under subds. 1.
if all of the parties to the dispute request mediation of the dispute.
Request for mediation; agreement to mediate.
To participate in mediation, the farmer or other party to a dispute described in par. (am)
shall submit a request for mediation to the department on forms prepared by the department. The department may not proceed under this section until the farmer and the other party have submitted an agreement to mediate.
Selection of mediator.
If the department has obtained the agreement under par. (b)
, the farmer and the other party may request the department to provide the names, mailing addresses and qualifications of up to 3 mediators located in the geographical area in which the agricultural property or farmer is located. The parties shall select a mediator or, upon request of the parties, the department shall designate a mediator for the parties.
The function of the mediator is to encourage a voluntary settlement among the parties. The mediator may not compel a settlement. The mediator shall schedule meetings of the parties, direct the parties to prepare for the meetings, attempt to achieve a mediated resolution to the issues among the parties and, if the parties request, assist the parties in preparing a written agreement. All mediation meetings shall be held in this state and be conducted under the laws of this state.
Effect of mediation.
The parties may at any time withdraw from mediation. The parties have full responsibility for reaching and enforcing any agreement among them. A mediation agreement may include an agreement for the payment of property taxes, special assessments that have been settled in full by the county under s. 74.29
, special charges or special taxes assessed against agricultural property that are subject to a tax certificate issued under s. 74.57
in installments, as long as the agreement is not inconsistent with county board policy. After the expiration of the time period specified in the suspension order under sub. (2m)
, the parties may no longer participate in the mediation process regarding the same subject matter under this section unless the parties and the mediator agree to continue the mediation.
Disputes for arbitration.
A party to a procurement contract that contains an agreement to submit contract disputes to arbitration wishing to resolve a dispute over the procurement contract or a farmer or creditor wishing to resolve a dispute between them involving the farmer's agricultural property and the creditor's interest in a mortgage, land contract, lien, security interest or judgment affecting the agricultural property, either before an action has been initiated to which they are parties or after entry of a suspension order in an action to which they are parties under sub. (2m)
, may participate in arbitration under this section in accordance with this subsection and subject to ch. 788
Request for arbitration; agreement to arbitrate.
To participate in arbitration, the farmer and other party under par. (a)
shall submit a request for arbitration to the department on a form prepared by the department. After receipt of the request, if the parties wish to proceed to arbitration under this subsection, the department shall require the parties to enter into an agreement to binding arbitration on a form prepared by the department.
Selection of arbitrator.
After the department has obtained the agreement under par. (b)
, the farmer and the other party may request the department to provide the names, mailing addresses and qualifications of up to 3 arbitrators located in the geographical area in which the agricultural property or farmer is located. The parties shall select an arbitrator or, upon request of the parties, the department shall designate an arbitrator for the parties.
Other creditors; no delay.
With respect to mediation or arbitration between parties before an action has been initiated to which they are parties, no agreement to mediate or to arbitrate, or the fact that mediation or arbitration is currently occurring, may have the effect of delaying, postponing or extending any time limits in any legal proceeding commenced to enforce a mortgage, land contract, lien, security interest or judgment commenced by a creditor other than the creditor or creditors participating in the mediation or arbitration.
See also s. ATCP 162.01
, Wis. adm. code.
Farmer assistance. 93.51(1)(1)
In this section:
The department may provide consultation and assistance to distressed farmers, which may include but is not limited to providing employment and retraining counseling for farmers needing employment other than farming, operating a program in which volunteers advise or counsel farmers about financial matters and other concerns and operating a crisis hotline for farmers.
The department may make grants to low-income farmers for the purpose of paying all or part of the tuition for a farmer who enrolls in a course on farm and business management techniques offered by a technical college.
The department may promulgate rules necessary to implement this section.
The department may select volunteers to provide advice and counseling services to distressed farmers. Advisors shall have expertise and experience in relevant areas of knowledge.
The department shall provide any necessary training to advisors.
Advisors shall be compensated for travel and other necessary expenses in amounts approved by the department.
Advisors and the department shall keep confidential all information obtained in the process of providing advice or counseling, except for aggregate data compiled by the department at not less than a countywide level that does not contain any reference to the identity of any individual or individual farm. Any such confidential information contained in a record is not subject to the right of public inspection and copying under s. 19.35 (1)
. This paragraph does not apply to information relating to possible criminal misconduct.
Dairy farmer exit-entry program.
The department shall administer a program to assist in the transfer of farm operations from persons exiting the dairy industry to persons wishing to enter the industry, including assistance in negotiating the financial and legal aspects of farm transfers. The department shall keep confidential information obtained under the program. Any such information contained in a record is not subject to the right of public inspection and copying under s. 19.35 (1)
History: 1997 a. 264
Chemical and container collection grants. 93.55(1)(1)
In this section:
“Chemical" means a chemical, including a pesticide, that is used for agricultural purposes.
The department may award a grant to a county for a chemical and container collection program. A grant under this subsection may not fund more than 75 percent of the cost of a program. Costs eligible for funding include the cost of establishing a collection site for chemicals and chemical containers, the cost of transporting chemical containers to a dealer or distributor for refill and reuse or to a hazardous waste facility, as defined in s. 291.01 (8)
, and costs associated with the proper use and handling and disposal or recycling of chemicals and chemical containers. Grants shall be paid from the appropriation under s. 20.115 (7) (va)
To the extent permitted under federal regulations, a county establishing a chemical and container collection program under sub. (2)
, in cooperation with the department, shall ensure that a farmer, as defined in s. 102.04 (3)
, who participates in the program is not liable for chemicals or chemical containers collected under the program after the farmer relinquishes control over the chemicals or chemical containers.
See also ch. ATCP 34
, Wis. adm. code.
Household hazardous waste.
The department shall administer a grant program to assist municipalities and regional planning commissions in creating and operating local programs for the collection and disposal of household hazardous waste. The department may also provide grants under this section for county, municipal, and regional planning commission programs to collect unwanted prescription drugs. The department may not make a grant under this section in an amount that exceeds 75 percent of the cost of a program. The department shall allocate two-thirds of the funds available from the appropriation account under s. 20.115 (7) (va)
in each fiscal year for grants under this section.
History: 1985 a. 29
; 1995 a. 227
; Stats. 1995 s. 299.41; 2001 a. 109
; 2003 a. 33
; Stats. 2003 s. 93.57; 2007 a. 20
See also chs. ATCP 34
and NR 187
, Wis. adm. code.
Producer-led watershed protection grants. 93.59(1)(1)
The department shall make grants for nonpoint source pollution abatement activities conducted with the assistance of producer-led groups that comply with sub. (2)
. The department shall make a grant directly to the producer-led group, except that, if the group is not a legal entity, the department may only make the grant to a legal entity on behalf of the group.
The department may provide a grant under sub. (1)
if all of the following apply:
The producer-led group includes at least 5 agricultural producers each of whom operates an eligible farm, as defined in s. 91.86 (1)
, in one watershed. The group may include additional agricultural producers who are not required to be operators of eligible farms.
The group is formed through a memorandum of understanding with the collaborating entity under par. (c)
The group collaborates with at least one of the following:
The University of Wisconsin-Extension or the Discovery Farms program of the University of Wisconsin-Extension.
The group assists agricultural producers in the watershed under par. (a)
to voluntarily conduct nonpoint source water pollution abatement activities.
The group contributes matching funds equal to at least 50 percent of eligible costs.
A producer-led group that receives, or on whose behalf a legal entity receives, a grant under this section shall annually file a report with the department describing the activities conducted with the grant and the impact of those activities on water quality in the watershed under sub. (2) (a)
The department may promulgate rules that do all of the following:
Define “legal entity" for the purposes of this section.
Specify the application process for a grant under this section.
Specify activities that may be conducted using a grant under this section.
In any fiscal year, the department may not provide more than $40,000 to any single producer-led group or legal entity on behalf of the group.
Grants for meat processing facilities. 93.68(1)(1)
In this section, “meat processing facility" means a plant or premises where animals are slaughtered for human consumption, or where meat or meat products are processed, but does not include rendering plants.
The department may award grants from the appropriation under s. 20.115 (4) (f)
to meat processing facilities for the purpose of promoting the growth of the meat industry in this state.
History: 2021 a. 58
Conservation reserve enhancement program. 93.70(1)(1)
The department may expend funds from the appropriation account under s. 20.866 (2) (wf)
to improve water quality, erosion control and wildlife habitat through participation by this state in the conservation reserve enhancement program as approved by the secretary of the federal department of agriculture under 16 USC 3834
The department may not make a payment under sub. (1)
to a person whose name appears on the statewide support lien docket under s. 49.854 (2) (b)
, unless the person provides to the department a payment agreement that has been approved by the county child support agency under s. 59.53 (5)
and that is consistent with rules promulgated under s. 49.858 (2) (a)
History: 1999 a. 9
; 2003 a. 33
See also ch. ATCP 52
, Wis. adm. code.
Purchase of agricultural conservation easements.