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.


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.


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.


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.

To request credit counseling, submit a Credit Counseling Request form (SFN 61022).


The North Dakota Mediation Service can assist in a wide variety of issues including:

  • Wetlands determinations
  • USDA adverse decisions
  • Agricultural credit
  • Rural water loan programs
  • Pesticides
  • Lease issues, including land leases and equipment leases
  • Family farm transition
  • Farmer-neighbor disputes



Mediation is now available to address many energy development-related issues, including:

  • Surface damages
  • Property access
  • Well location
  • Oil and gas-related pipelines
  • Easements
  • Compensation

NDCC 38-11.1-09.1 and 38-11.1-09.2

38-11.1-09.1. Mediation of disputes.
Within one year after a compensation offer made under section 38-11.1-08 is rejected,
either the mineral developer or surface owner may involve the North Dakota mediation service
or other civil mediator. Involvement of a mediator may comply with Rule 8.8 of the North Dakota
Rules of Court for purposes of alternative dispute resolution compliance. The cost of the
mediator must be mediated between the parties. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement
regarding the cost of the mediator through mediation, each party shall pay an equal portion of
the mediator's compensation. If the mediation is provided by the North Dakota mediation
service, compensation of the mediator must be the actual cost of the mediator to the North
Dakota mediation service.

38-11.1-09.2. Mediation service.
The North Dakota mediation service may mediate disputes related to easements for oil and
gas-related pipelines and associated facilities.


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 is 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.

NDCC 20.1-02-05 (28). Powers of the Director

28. Authorize individuals with valid antlerless deer licenses to take deer on private lands determined by the director to be severely impacted by deer. Before authorizing individuals under this subsection, the director must attempt other measures and determine them to be ineffective. A landowner dissatisfied with a decision of the director under this subsection may submit the decision to the agricultural mediation service for mandatory mediation. A decision of an agricultural mediation service negotiator is subject to review by the credit review board. A decision of the credit review board under this subsection is final. The director may authorize individuals to take deer under this subsection between December first of a year through January fifteenth of the following year.


  1. The party wishing to initiate mediation must submit a Request for Mediation form (SFN 51122).
  2. 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.
  3. If mediation is rejected, the party requesting mediation will be notified of the decision.
  4. If mediation is requested, the Mediation Service will assign a mediator and notify all parties.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. If an agreement is reached, the mediator shall write the agreement and acquire signatures of all parties.
  8. 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.

North Dakota Mediation Ser­vice Contacts

North Dakota Mediation Ser­vice Contacts

Betty Schneider
Mediation Program Coordinator

600 East Boulevard Ave.
Dept. 602
Bismarck, ND 58505



Fax: 701-328-4567

North Dakota Mediation Service

600 East Boulevard Ave.
Dept. 602
Bismarck, ND 58505


Fax: 701-328-4567