As a farmer you are usually sedentary. Therefore, most of your neighbours will stay close by for a longer period of time. Maybe you get into a quarrel with a colleague (e. g. about maintenance of collectively used field equipment, lease and use of a field or the use and maintenance of a lane). Maybe you get into conflict with a new neighbour that moved to the village from the city who feels offended about something going on at your farm.
Conflict about commonly used farm equipment:
Farmers increasingly join machinery groups to lower the cost of machine purchase and achieve a better machine utilization rate. If somebody is not providing a machine to another member of the machinery group at the agreed time, the schedule of the affected farmer unravels and this may lead to disagreements. If there are different perceptions about the maintenance of commonly used machinery this is another reason for conflict.
Farmland lease and purchase:
Under a regime of low prices for agricultural goods, increasing legal requirements and rising costs there are only two possible strategies for a farm to survive in the long run: Growth or specialization. Opportunities for specialization heavily depend on the location of the farm. Producing certified milk for direct marketing is only possible if your farm is close to a city with a large base of financially strong customers that are willing to pay for the daily delivery service of fresh milk. Therefore, farmland for lease or purchase is eagerly struggled for. In addition, former farmland is used for infrastructure projects, home construction, the establishment of industrial estates, nature conservation and other purposes and therefore no longer available for farming. And farmland has become an object of speculation, unfortunately. Therefore, the pressure on the purchase of farmland has tremendously increased. If a farmer gets the impression, that another farmer snatched a piece of land away that he wanted to lease or buy, this easily leads to bad blood.
Use and maintenance of lanes:
The maintenance of lanes often is the obligation of the owners of the surrounding farmland. If a lane needs repair the financing might become a cause of conflict. And even the use of a lane may provide reasons for conflict. The village chronicle of my hometown Isernhagen provides the fact that in the past a regulation was passed that prohibited the burying of fallen cattle on lanes. This suggests the conclusion, that somebody actually did bury a fallen animal on a lane, which – with progressive decay of the corpse – most likely provided a really bad surprise for a later user of that lane.
The traditional family feud:
Somewhere back in time several generations ago there was a, maybe even trivial, occasion that provoked a chain reaction of mutual revenge actions between two families. The actual generation might not even have the slightest idea, how it all began. But it is for sure that the other family is somebody that is not trustworthy and you have to be prepared for the worst, anytime! Farmers become more and more dependent on neighbourhood cooperation if their farms should have a chance to survive. And maybe a cooperation with the farm of the enemies makes a lot of economic sense. To solve such kind of conflict is extremely difficult. But if there is a chance a mediation is a valuable opportunity to reach this goal.
The freshly arrived urbanites:
New houses have been constructed in the village or an old farm has been redesigned and the barns and stables have become family homes. New people arrive in the village. Some of them come directly from the city. These urbanites have idyllic perceptions from toddlers’ picture books about living at the countryside and now they are confronted with an agriculture that entails entertaining new odours and noises. Maybe the new urban neighbour is even on a ‘mission’ to ‘educate’ the farmers in the village about his perception of ‘proper’ farm work. Here lies huge potential for a cultural clash. A clever farmer can counteract this conflict potential by inviting his new neighbours for coffee and cake and combines the invitation with a tour of the farm, which he uses to explain the work on his farm and to raise awareness for the challenges of modern farming that farmers are exposed to through customer behaviour, food retailing, animal rights activists and policies. Often this provides a sound base for understanding and the beginning of a good neighbourhood relationship. If this is not the case, a mediation might be helpful.
If a farmer wants to build a new stable this can provoke tremendous opposition. A new barn means odour emissions, and noise through animals, feeding, transportation of animals and resources and maybe a milking machine. A mediation might promote mutual understanding.
If the conflict is not solved it might smoulder under the surface and can cause huge trouble for your farm in the future. To prevent this from happening I will help you in the context of a mediation to find a constructive and harmonious solution for your neighbourhood conflict.
Make an appointment for a first free preliminary, now to get to know each other and figure out, if a mediation is a useful option in your case under the phone number 0049 – 160 – 76 25 61 8