Agricultural Law
Sarah Vogel began working on behalf of farmers and ranchers in the 1980s, during the depths of the farm crisis. Sarah's work, and a national class action suit she brought, saved over 240,000 family farmers from foreclosure. Both Sarah Vogel and Beth Baumstark have been working for farmers and ranchers for years, and their experience ranges from section line disputes to testifying before Congress and writing U.S. Supreme Court briefs on NAFTA and GATT trade disputes. Beth Baumstark's exceptional handling of many NAD appeals has been recognized by farmers and other attorneys even outside North Dakota. All of the attorneys at our firm focus on agricultural law, and as a result our firm is an ideal fit for farmers and ranchers. Not only do we have experience with the many legal issues often faced by today's farmers and ranchers, but we also recognize that our clients' time is often as important as ours. Whether it's calving time or harvest time, we're sensitive to the changing seasons, and always willing to work with the special needs of farmers and ranchers.

More specifically, we have significant experience in the following areas:

  • Administrative hearings and appeals through the National Appeals Division (NAD) of USDA related to various farm programs
  • Crop insurance mediation, arbitration and related litigation
  • Disputes related to bad seed or other farm inputs
  • Pesticide misapplications and pesticide drift
  • Defective machinery and equipment
  • Farm leases and other agricultural agreements
  • Surface use agreements related to energy development
  • Contract disputes
  • Farm organizations
  • Land use issues

Whether it's a simple farm lease, a Prevent Plant denial or complex contractual dispute, our attorneys have the experience and know-how to help out with the legal issues faced by farmers and ranchers.

Administrative Law
Completion of administrative appeals is often a prerequisite to bringing a lawsuit against a governmental body or agency. We are experienced with a variety of administrative appeals, whether from a decision of a local government or a government agency. Administrative law practice requires familiarity with both the Administrative Agencies Practice Act and government agency rules and regulations. Having dealt with appeals and other challenges from many government agencies and local governments, we're experienced with both the procedural and substantive laws and regulations involved with administrative law practice.

American Indian Law
We have a great deal of experience working with American Indian law, and it is one of the primary focuses of our practice. Sarah Vogel has been actively involved with the Keepseagle national class action against USDA for discrimination for over 10 years. Our attorneys have on repeated occasions helped to resolve tribal election disputes and voting rights cases on behalf of American Indian tribes.

The partners at our firm have a wealth of experience working for individuals in tribal courts, and we've also represented several Indian tribes, tribal businesses and tribal governmental bodies in tribal, state and federal courts. We're familiar with both local tribal rules and federal case law related to the sovereign immunity and the jurisdictional boundaries of Indian tribes. We have experience with BIA appeals, grazing leases and pasture authorizations, and many of the other unique issues facing American Indians and Indian tribes. From contractual disputes in tribal court to TERO compliance to intergovernmental jurisdictional disputes, we are experienced and knowledgeable in the realm of American Indian law.

Business Law
Our Business law practice focuses on businesses owned and run by families, tribal members and tribal governments. We have the breadth and depth of experience required to deal with the many and often unexpected issues that arise for small businesses. Whether it's reviewing contracts, creating a corporate entity and operating agreement, or regulatory compliance, we have the experience and knowledge to help businesses succeed. The partners at our firm have a strong value of supporting rural and tribal economic development, and we focus our Business Law practice on supporting the businesses that make that development possible.

Energy Law
Our energy law practice focuses on helping the farmers, ranchers and other individuals impacted by energy development. We've found that most firms serve primarily the movers of energy development, rather than those dealing with the results of such development. We have experience helping landowners with zoning and land use issues, oil and gas, wind and coal leasing, legal challenges and representation in front of state agencies and any other issues landowners have in dealing with energy development. We have also advised governmental bodies on issues related to wind energy development and other land use issues, and our attorneys have given presentations on leasing and wind energy development around the state. We support responsible energy development, but we demand that the landowners who deal with its impacts have a voice and a vote in how this development occurs. In order to ensure that we do not have conflicts with respect to representing landowners and mineral owners, we do not represent oil and gas operators or developers.

In addition to our legal practice, our attorneys have offered their time for presentations to groups on leasing and landowner rights in the areas of energy development.

Eminent Domain and Condemnation
We represent landowners faced with condemnation proceedings, and have significant knowledge and experience with a variety of proceedings such as oil and gas pipeline proceedings in state and federal courts, water drainage easements, road easements, and others. We have been involved in the process on behalf of our clients from initial negotiations through trial. We are familiar not only with North Dakota law, but with developments in eminent domain law around the country, and in our practice we strive to move the yardsticks whenever possible and when practical for our clients. We also understand the practical aspects of eminent domain proceedings, and we are comfortable with negotiating or taking challenges to eminent domain through all levels of the court system.

Environmental Law
Environmental law is another of our firm's primary practice areas, and we have significant experience in this area. We have represented individuals who have suffered from the impact of environmental disasters such as oilfield saltwater spills and train wrecks. Derrick Braaten has worked on behalf of several environmental and landowner advocacy organizations both in administrative practice and litigation in state and federal courts. We are one of the only firms in the area with a significant practice focus in environmental law, particularly environmental work on behalf of community organizations and individuals aggrieved by violations of environmental laws and regulations.

Oil and Gas Law
Our oil and gas practice focuses on helping the farmers, ranchers and other individuals impacted by oil and gas development in North Dakota. We support responsible energy development, but we demand that the landowners who deal with its impacts have a voice and a vote in how this development occurs. In order to ensure that we do not have conflicts with respect to representing landowners and mineral owners, we do not represent oil and gas operators or developers.

Our practice in oil and gas law has grown in recent years along with the oil and gas development, and our attorneys have significant expertise in representing landowners and mineral owners in a wide range of matters, from reviewing oil and gas leases, pipeline agreements and negotiating surface damage payments to high stakes litigation against numerous corporate entities.

Derrick Braaten advises, represents and serves as general counsel to several landowner and farm and ranch organizations, and has given presentations on oil and gas development from the landowner and mineral owner perspective at local town hall meetings, conferences and symposia around the state. Derrick was active in the most recent legislative session, lobbying on behalf of landowners and mineral owners, drafting proposed legislation and advising landowner organizations on much needed legislative reform. Todd Sattler has over twenty years of experience with complex litigation and, as Assistant Attorney General, served as general counsel to the North Dakota Industrial Commission, which regulates the drilling and production of oil and gas in North Dakota. He also served as general counsel to the North Dakota State Land Department, which is responsible for the management of over 2.5 million minerals acres, and conducted administrative hearings for the North Dakota Oil and Gas Division. Todd joined BaumstarkBraaten Law Partners to work exclusively for landowners and mineral owners in North Dakota.

Because of our historic focus on agricultural law, our attorneys also have a crucial understanding of how oil and gas development affects farmers and ranchers in particular. We continue to offer our time for presentations, lectures and speeches in this area of law to educate and inform landowners and mineral owners of their rights and obligations with respect to oil and gas development.

Property Law, Land Use, and Zoning
There is often a significant degree of overlap in our practice areas, and nowhere is this as true as with our Property, Land Use and Zoning law practice. Government decisions on land uses can impact a wide range of people, from farmers and ranchers to landowner advocacy groups and land stewardship organizations. We have significant experience with everything from section line disputes to challenging local government zoning decisions at the local level as well as in state courts.

Water Law
As with all of our practice areas, our work in water law focuses on serving landowners. From drainage projects to easement negotiations and wetland determinations, we have experience with all aspects of water law necessary to serve our landowner clients.

Wind Energy Law
Our wind law practice focuses on advising and negotiating on behalf of landowners impacted by wind development. Although we have represented wind developers in some circumstances, our practice focuses on helping landowners organize and negotiate with wind developers for just compensation as well as agreements that protect the land and the landowner.