If you should need to undergo the Farm Business Debt Mediation, keeping the following things in mind will help you to prepare and improve your chances of the best possible outcome.
Seek support as soon as possible: if you are facing financial difficulties, it’s important to seek support and advice early, to assess your options and potentially remove the need for mediation altogether. The Rural Financial Counselling Service is a great resource, but your accountant or solicitor can also assist.
Choose to have an advisor present: Farmers are entitled to have one or more advisors present in mediation meetings, in addition to helping you prepare. Consider bringing a professional who you trust, who knows your business and situation and can help you understand the process if necessary. This could be your solicitor, accountant or a business consultant. The mediator will also ensure you are well supported.
Familiarise yourself with relevant documentation: Take the time to get familiar with documents containing your financial position and other details that maybe relevant at mediation. This could include a current and realistic market valuation of your property, a list of plant and equipment, cashflow budgets, livestock or cropping programs and copies of the last three year’s taxation figures.
Consider the other party: What do you know about them? What internal and external constraints are they operating under, and what options are likely to be acceptable to them? Understanding other perspectives will help you to prepare.
Prepare for a range of outcomes: Farm Business Debt Mediation aims to find an equitable resolution for both farmer and mortgagee, so be prepared to compromise. A good way to prepare is to consider as many outcomes as possible, determine which are practical and could satisfy your needs, and develop arguments for each.