News & Events

Sarah Vogel speaks to audience at Montana Farmer's Union annual conference 2023

I was incredibly honored to be invited to keynote the Montana Farmers Union annual conference in October. When it comes to presenting, I am a pretty harsh self critic, but the crowd’s reaction convinced me that they really liked my talk! I received nothing but effusive compliments and at the end of my talk, they even gave me a LONG standing ovation! It was so moving.

In addition to the story behind The Farmer’s Lawyer, I spoke a bit about the Nonpartisan League of Montana (1917-1919), a history of which most in the audience were unaware.

When I finished speaking, I got to meet many of Montana’s wonderful farmers, ranchers, and agriculture advocates as I signed books. I think all but a handful were sold, and I’m so grateful to the owner of a local bookstore, The Montana Book Co, who handled the sales logistics.

Some of the young Farmers Union “Ambassadors” (mostly women) asked for photos together and said they’d like to come to North Dakota to learn more about the Nonpartisan League. It was especially wonderful that Montana Farmers Union had already featured The Farmer’s Lawyer in a statewide Zoom book club so many people were already familiar with me and the book.

In summary, it was a wonderful event and three cheers for Farmers Union!!

Sarah Vogel podcast guest on My Simplified Life

A big thank you to Michelle Glogovac for having me on the My Simplified Life podcast!

In this episode, Michelle and Sarah discuss:

  • Public policy matters, and who you elect matters
  • Family farming is closely connected to democracy
  • The mistreatment of Native American farmers and ranchers was the worst

Listen to the episode here.
Sarah Vogel podcast guest on My Simplified Life



The Farmer's Lawyer Paperback Announcement
The Great American Folk Show with Tom Brosseau

Thanks to Tom Brosseau and The Great American Folk Show for bringing Sarah on to read a segment of The Farmer’s Lawyer!

Listen to the full episode on the Prairie Public website.

The Great American Folk Show with Tom Brosseau

Episode and show information from The Great American Folk Show site:

The Great American Folk Show is a little place on the radio where we commune with you to share stories, sing songs, and talk to some good people with great voices.

Episode 87 features poet and songwriter Jake Gibbons, musician Lowell Larsen, North Dakota author Sarah Vogel, and a Dakota Diners visit to Tacos Garcia in Killdeer, ND. Plus, a visit with Notstock creators Laurie Geller and Bill Harbort, to preview this year’s Notstock festival in Minot.

The Great American Folk Show is written, recorded, and hosted by folksinger and songwriter Tom Brosseau, announced by Joe Wiegand, and produced by Prairie Public Broadcasting. Original instrumentation by Burkum Boys. Additional music by Sean Watkins. Special flyer design by DLT. Photo by Eric and Jackie Hylden.

The New York Review of Books: The Farmer's Lawyer featured

On January 19th, The Farmer’s Lawyer: The North Dakota Nine and the Fight to Save the Family Farm was featured prominently in a striking analysis of our current farm and resource crisis in The New York Review of Books. This timely and well-informed piece was written by the interminable Ian Frazier, author of thirteen books, including Great Plains.

Sarah is thrilled and honored to have her story and work featured in this stunning and urgent piece on one of the most crucial issues of our time: the intersection of farms, food, climate, resources, and human beings. The essay also prominently reviews another essential book of our time, Perilous Bounty: The Looming Collapse of American Farming and How We Can Prevent It by Tom Philpott.

From The New York Review, “Grim Reapers: Mega-agriculture is destroying the Corn Belt and the Central Valley, which the country’s food system depends on. Can midsize farms survive to save it?”:

“[Vogel] was the farmers’ lawyer and hero. The Coleman victory created public awareness of what farmers were going through.”


Read the full “Grim Reapers” piece on The New York Review of Books website.

Screenshot of the opening paragraphs of the NYR piece entitled “Grim Reapers.”

Sarah was honored in September with the University of North Dakota’s Sioux Award for Distinguished Achievement and Leadership. Here’s what they had to say:

Sarah Vogel, ’67, first rose to prominence when she took on the federal government on behalf of farmers in the 1980s. Her David versus Goliath battle to win the class-action lawsuit Coleman v. Block is the subject of a book she wrote last year, “The Farmer’s Lawyer.” Following that case, Sarah would go on to be elected North Dakota Commissioner of Agriculture, the first woman to be elected a commissioner of agriculture of any state. After two terms, Sarah returned to private practice, where she won a $680 million settlement for Native American farmers impacted by USDA discriminatory lending practices.

Read the full details here.

Want to learn more? You can also watch the Beyond the Pages interview UND did with Sarah in April, 2022.

Her book and our interview begin with a long view of the Vogel family’s commitment to justice for farmers, beginning with a history of the Nonpartisan League, the left-wing political party founded by North Dakota socialist Arthur C. Townley to protect farmers during the Great Depression. Sarah’s grandfather Frank Vogel, a dedicated Nonpartisan Leaguer, was the most trusted advisor of “Wild Bill” Langer, governor of North Dakota from 1933-1934 and 1937-1939 who in his first speech as governor insisted that there can [quote] “be no return to prosperity in North Dakota that doesn’t begin with the farmer.”

Read the full transcript here

Reading the West shortlist

The Reading the West Book Awards are sponsored and promoted independent booksellers across many western and mid-western states. The awards honor the best fiction, non-fiction, and illustrated books for adults and children set in the region, or created by an author or artist living or working in the region. The awards, given to books published in the previous calendar year, celebrate the spirit of the west and the rich variety of writing in and about this region, and reflect the extraordinary diversity of the reading public.

See the full shortlist and vote for your favorites, including The Farmer’s Lawyer.