Superior Court mediation course is set for Oct. 7-11

In response to a growing need for neutral mediators to resolve agricultural disputes, a course in Superior Court mediation will be offered Oct. 7-11 by the N.C. Agriculture Mediation Program at Western Carolina University.

The program, which operates through WCU’s College of Business, was started nearly a year ago at the request of Gov. Mike Easley with a $95,000 federal grant. It is the only agricultural mediation program for the state. The program has been recertified by Easley and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the 2008 fiscal year.

“Litigation in the United States can be out of control—it’s very expensive, it takes too long, and it often doesn’t get to the underlying issue,” said Jayne Zanglein, assistant professor of business law at Western. “Mediation allows parties to get to the real issue at stake. This is especially important for long-term relationships such as those between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and farmers and producers.”

The N.C. Agriculture Mediation Program at Western will certify much-needed mediators, said Zanglein. “Not only do we need agricultural mediators, but recently the North Carolina courts required Superior Court cases to first be referred to mediation,” she said.

The Oct. 7-11 training will be led by Barbara Davis, a certified Superior Court mediator and former member of the state’s Dispute Resolution Commission, and will include a 40-hour course toward certification as a mediator in the North Carolina Superior Court. An additional 20 hours of specialized training in Agriculture Department program issues, necessary to become an agricultural mediator, will be offered at a later date.

The course is limited to the first 30 participants to sign up and costs $900 per person. The registration form is available via e-mail, and the deadline for registration is Monday, Sept. 10.

For more information, contact Zanglein at (828) 227-7191 or jzanglein@email.wcu.edu, or visit http://www.wcu.edu/NCAMP.