“Sarah Vogel and I share an ornery persistence in the face of bullies. This is her real life story of fighting for farmers as they were pushed off the land by a plan, ordered and carried out by top officials of our government. Sarah’s story, told in her unique voice, inspires me–and I’m sure it will inspire you–to fight for family farmers.” —Willie Nelson, Artist and Farm Aid President

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 passionate advocate for farmers and Native Americans, Sarah lives in Bismarck, North Dakota.

A courageous American story about justice and holding the powerful to account, Sarah’s novel The Farmer’s Lawyer shows how the farm economy we all depend on for our daily bread almost fell apart due to the willful neglect of those charged to protect it, and what we can learn from Sarah’s battle as a similar calamity looms large on our horizon once again.

Forthcoming Books:

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The Farmer’s Lawyer: The North Dakota Nine and the Fight to Save the Family Farm

Bloomsbury Publishing |
Nonfiction

“Sarah’s story, told in her unique voice, inspires me–and I’m sure it will inspire you–to fight for family farmers.” –Willie Nelson

“An exquisitely written American saga.” –Sarah Smarsh

“Remarkably well told and heartfelt.” –John Grisham

The unforgettable true story of a young lawyer’s impossible legal battle to stop the federal government from foreclosing on thousands of family farmers.

In the early 1980s, farmers were suffering through the worst economic crisis to hit rural America since the Great Depression. Land prices were down, operating costs and interest rates were up, and severe weather devastated crops. Instead of receiving assistance from the government as they had in the 1930s, these hardworking family farmers were threatened with foreclosure by the very agency that Franklin Delano Roosevelt created to help them.

Desperate, they called Sarah Vogel in North Dakota. Sarah, a young lawyer and single mother, listened to farmers who were on the verge of losing everything and, inspired by the politicians who had helped farmers in the ’30s, she naively built a solo practice of clients who couldn’t afford to pay her. Sarah began drowning in debt and soon her own home was facing foreclosure. In a David and Goliath legal battle reminiscent of A Civil Action or Erin Brockovich, Sarah brought a national class action lawsuit, which pitted her against the Reagan administration’s Department of Justice, in her fight for family farmers’ Constitutional rights. It was her first case.

A courageous American story about justice and holding the powerful to account, The Farmer’s Lawyer shows how the farm economy we all depend on for our daily bread almost fell apart due to the willful neglect of those charged to protect it, and what we can learn from Sarah’s battle as a similar calamity looms large on our horizon once again.

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Coming soon!

Book Club Resources

Sarah’s Essays

Sarah’s Latest Media Coverage & News

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Shortlisted for the Reading the West Award
Honoree for The Society of Midland Authors Award
Recipient of the 2022 Sioux Award
Lifetime Achievement Award, North Dakota Democratic Nonpartisan League Party, 2015
Recognition by Willie Nelson at the 30th anniversary of Farm Aid, 2015
Arc of Justice Award, North Dakota Human Rights Coalition, 2012
Finalist, Trial Lawyer of the Year, Public Justice Foundation, 2011
Distinguished Service Award, American Agriculture Law Association, 2006
Selected as one of 20 Young Attorneys Whose Work Makes a Difference, Barrister Magazine, American Bar Association (“When Sarah Vogel Got Mad … 240,000 Farmers Went to Court”), 1986

Media Kit

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where you can download author photos and cover images.

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