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Derrick Braaten

Derrick Braaten is a partner in Baumstark Braaten Law Partners of Bismarck, N.D. He welcomes input and comments on his columns. He can be reached at his office at (701) 221-2911 or by email at

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How to negotiate an easement

More important, landowners are usually better off having a reasonable easement in place than losing rights to the property through eminent domain or other authority.


Crop insurance arbitration

Your crop insurance policy requires that disputes about a denial be handled through mediation or arbitration. In our experience, arbitration is the better route.


What about the farm bill?

The passage of a 2012 farm bill is obviously an issue of great importance for farmers and ranchers throughout the Midwest and Northern Plains.


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Insolvencies and Bankruptcies

I recently received a call from a farmer regarding a grain elevator insolvency, and thought this would be a good time to review some of the laws related to elevator insolvencies. As Agweek staff writer Mikkel Pates pointed out in March, in the past few years, we have seen several significant elevator insolvencies.


Landowners and energy developers need solutions

I recently spoke at the International Legislators Forum, which is an annual meeting of legislators from Manitoba, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota put on by the Consensus Council. The forum “provides an opportunity for delegates to share information, understand problems, build relationships and develop collaborative agreements on a wide variety of issues.” I spoke on a panel about landowner perspectives related to


Who's who in administrative agencies?

As the political parties gear up for the elections this fall, I thought it would be helpful to offer a brief review of a few agencies that regulate energy development, and often make decisions that affect landowners.


Educating your attorney

On-farm visits beneficial to understanding issues farmers and ranchers face


Grain buyers, warehouses and insolvency

BISMARCK, N.D. — With three active insolvency proceedings being administered by the North Dakota Public Service Commission, and another North Dakota grain elevator in dire straits, it seems a good time to revisit some of the basic laws related to grain elevator and buyer insolvencies. While the laws related to these insolvencies can be complex, there are a few basic issues that farmers should be aware of.


Herd laws on the open range

BISMARCK, N.D. — In the days of the Wild West, disputes over trespassing livestock likely were resolved more often by a neighborly agreement, or perhaps by finding out who was the quicker draw. Since that time, a substantial body of law has developed regarding the liability of livestock owners when their cattle or other livestock cause damage to property of another.


Drainage and diversion practices

BISMARCK, N.D. — It appears that Punxsutawney Phil was mistaken, and an early spring has arrived in North Dakota. Along with the arrival of spring, is the arrival of spring showers (and in most years, snow melt) which leads to fields and pastures full of puddles, ponds, streams and sloughs. As a landowner, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities with regard to those puddles, ponds, streams and sloughs.


Seller beware

BISMARCK, N.D. — We’ve cautioned readers in the past to tread carefully when entering into grain purchase contracts because of the grain market’s entrance into the big business world.


AG-VOCATE FOR AG: Regulations, statutes and the Finality Rule

BISMARCK, N.D. — There are likely few farmers and ranchers who are not well-acquainted with the myriad of federal farm programs. Most are aware that they can seek reconsideration from the county committee of an adverse decision under these programs. Not all may be aware that they also have the option of appealing an adverse decision through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Appeals Division.

Landowners have the right to grant, deny access

BISMARCK, N.D. — The repercussions of the North Dakota oil boom are being felt throughout the state, and even throughout the nation. One effect of the ever-expanding oil industry is that farmers and ranchers now have to decide whether to grant an easement to that oil, pipeline, road construction or other company who has constructed a path to the middle of a wheat field or calving pasture.