Who are we?
A program of the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, the North Dakota Mediation Service (formerly the North Dakota Agricultural Mediation Service), was established in 1984 to help financially distressed farmers and ranchers through assistance with credit and financial matters and resolving disputes.
The 2011 Legislature expanded the agency’s responsibilities to include dispute resolution of property issues related to energy development and landowner disputes with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department related to damage caused by deer on winter livestock feed supplies.
North Dakota Mediation Service policies are established by the North Dakota Credit Review Board.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process in which a neutral mediator guides the parties who are involved in a dispute through a thorough examination and discussion of the issues. The mediator also helps the parties identify possible solutions.
Who may participate?
Agricultural producers, energy developers, landowners, or an owner, lessee, or lessor of mineral interests may request assistance from the North Dakota Mediation Service. Other entities may qualify. All requests for service will be considered.
- Avoid litigation
- Resolve issues
- Communicate your needs
- Save time and money
- Avoid disputes that can negatively impact both parties and the community
Mediation allows all parties involved in the dispute to speak openly about the issues in a confidential manner. North Dakota law provides that with some limitations, mediation is confidential and privileged.
Agricultural credit counseling
A North Dakota agricultural borrower can request credit counseling to assist with an agricultural credit issue.
A NDMS credit counselor works with the family to analyze profitability of the farm or ranch operation and develop options and alternative plans for the operation to present at mediation.
The North Dakota Mediation Service annually provides mediation to hundreds of farmers and ranchers on a wide range of issues, including:
- Disputes with federal and state agencies
- Wetland determinations
- Farm programs
- Crop insurance
- Agricultural credit
Mediation is now available to address many energy development-related issues, including:
- Surface damages
- Property access
- Well location
- Oil and gas-related pipelines
Deer depredation disputes
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department offers technical assistance, temporary fencing, scare devices, repellents, permanent deer-proof hay yards, hunting access/hunter contact programs, and others means of dealing with deer depredation in stored livestock feed supplies.
Although these remedies have proven effective, producers and department personnel may disagree on the course of action to be taken.
Dispute resolution through the North Dakota Mediation Service available to producers and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.
Producers are encouraged to make every effort possible to utilize tools and measures offered by North Dakota Game and Fish Department and to develop a depredation management plan with them before requesting assistance from the North Dakota Mediation Service.
How does the process work?
- The party wishing to initiate mediation must submit the request in writing to the administrator of the Mediation Service. It must include contact information for the party with whom mediation is being sought.
- Upon receipt of the request for mediation, the Mediation Service will send a letter to the other party stating that mediation is being requested with them. The Mediation Service will also send a Request for Mediation form to be completed by the other party. This form requires a signature and that party either agrees to participate in mediation or rejects the request.
- If mediation is rejected, the party requesting mediation will be notified of the decision.
- If mediation is requested, the Mediation Service will assign a mediator and notify all parties.
- If a mediator is assigned to the case, that mediator will complete the mediation process in accordance with North Dakota and national standards for mediation practice and ethics.
- The mediator shall manage the mediation process including keeping the parties informed of the process; working with the parties to find an acceptable time and place for the mediation; and to facilitate communication between the parties in an effort to reach a positive solution to the issues that are important to the parties.
- If an agreement is reached, the mediator shall write the agreement and acquire signatures of all parties.
- When mediation is closed, all parties will receive a copy of the agreement along with an invoice for mediation if applicable.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs, genetic information, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual' s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights,1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD)or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.