Arts & Culture
The Farmer’s Lawyer by Sarah Vogel Book Signing
As a young lawyer working for large corporations and law firms in New York City and Washington DC, Sarah Vogel, a North Dakota native, longed for a chance to represent the “good guys against big corporations and the federal government.” Little did she realize that the biggest case of her life and the biggest case for famers would grow from her decision to move back to North Dakota and to quickly become the lawyer to represent one North Dakota farmer against the Farmers Home Administration. One ND farmer grew to a client base of 240,000 farmers nationally and the civil suit that pitted these 240,000 farmers against the federal government.
As the client base grew and her research ensued, her life situation began to parallel that of her clients: her clients had no money to pay. As the farmers became bankrupt, so did Vogel. But she and her clients pressed on through tough financial times and eventually won the 1983 national class-action case entitled Coleman vs. Block case: Dwight Coleman — her first farmer client, and John Block, the United State Secretary of Agriculture.
Vogel’s childhood exposure to the Nonpartisan League philosophy coupled with support from her father, North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Robert Vogel, gave her the background and the chutzpah to move forward with and win the 1980 case of the farmers against the Farmers Home Administration.
Sarah Vogel is the first woman elected Commissioner of Agriculture and one of the foremost agriculture lawyers in the United States. The American Agricultural Law Association awarded her its Distinguished Service Award, and Willie Nelson honored Sarah at Farm Aid’s 30th anniversary for her longtime service to family farmers. Hailed as “a giant killer in ag law” by The Nation, Sarah served for decades as co-counsel on the Keepseagle case filed to redress USDA’s race discrimination in lending to Native American ranchers and farmers. An in-demand speaker and a passionate advocate for farmers and Native Americans, Sarah lives in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Vogel wrote of her life and her work with the farmers in the Coleman vs. Block case in her memoir, The Farmer’s Lawyer: The North Dakota Nine and the Fight to Save the Family Farm, to be released on October 14. A copy of the book can be pre-ordered at Main Street Books or on Vogel’s web page https://sarahmvogel.com/
Vogel will be at Main Street Books in Minot from 3 – 5:00 on November 13th. Everyone is invited to hear her story.
Established in 2006, we are Minot's locally-owned, independent bookstore that specializes in new books, educational toys, and fun and quirky sidelines. We also boast a new event space with a resident artist featuring original framed art, notebooks, prints, and future bookmaking workshops for kids.
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