When drawing up contracts with suppliers to your operation, consider an arbitration clause. According to Ray Williams, a lawyer and heifer grower in Milton-Freewater, Ore., this method of settlement can provide a quick resolution to disputes.

“Sometimes, delayed justice is justice denied,” notes Williams. In other words, time and money are often lost settling disputes in court — even when you win. The language of an arbitration clause states that when the parties cannot reconcile a dispute, each pick an individual who work together to select a third-party arbitrator who then weighs the evidence in the case. The arbitrator then decides a settlement in the case that both parities must abide by.

For example, a dairy producer may have an irreconcilable dispute with a heifer grower. The producer selects his veterinarian and the grower selects his county extension agent. These two individuals then pick a third party — perhaps a respected agricultural lawyer in the community — to determine a fair and binding settlement.