Dunn County Landowner says Property Not Returned to Original State

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Drive anywhere across North Dakota and at some point you’re sure to find yourself on a gravel road, but a Dunn County Man who allowed mining for gravel on his property says he’s found himself between a rock and a hard place.

Gravel leases are common all across North Dakota where a county or township will pay a landowner to mine gravel from their property, but it’s one lease here in Dunn County that has the landowner and the county at odds.

“By having this land turned to wasteland, it’s 11% of our tillable acres that we can’t produce anything off of,” according to Jared Danzeisen, Dunn County farmer/landowner.

Jared Danzeisen lives just outside of killdeer with his wife and son. The couple are young aspiring farmers as Jared’s tour with the Marine’s ended.

But he tells me an expired gravel lease on 28 acres of land he bought in June of 2015 is costing his family thousands in lost yields.

“Getting 15 tons off of 28 acres, you’re looking at roughly $25,000 a year that we’re losing not being able to use any of this land,” Danzeisen said.

Under the deal, Dunn County is required to return the land to a “generally smooth and neat condition” as outlined in documents obtained by KX News.

That has apparently not happened as Danzeisen showed me acres of land full of rocks, noxious weeds and even sinkholes.

In letters sent to Danzeisen by the county highway department, they say that the procedure has been completed.

“Being that they say it’s completed makes me kinda worry that we’re gonna be stuck with not cropland but wasteland,” said Danzeisen.

I reached out to the highway department which wouldn’t go on camera with me but said they are following the rules outlined in the original contract which states the department has until June 1st of next year to make required repairs. They added any further questions should be directed to the Dunn County States Attorney said they had no comment and would not have any comment on the matter.

Jared tells me he’s expressed his concerns to States Attorney Stephanie Davis and has gotten little response.

He adds it’s looking more and more like legal action on this matter will be necessary.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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