Anyone 50 or over will remember the 1980s farm crisis that choked the nation’s heartland. Family farm after family farm fell to the auctioneer’s block.
It was much more than the loss of a business, though. For many farmers, it was their inheritance and legacy threatened by Administrative Notice 580 handed down by the FmHA that accelerated payment schedules of borrowers behind on their payments or who had violated any agreement terms of their loans.
North Dakota attorney Sarah Vogel, in her exhaustively researched account, “The Farmer’s Lawyer,” tells the heartbreaking but later inspiring story of how she as a young lawyer fought and beat the federal government in the landmark class-action case Coleman vs. Block that originated with a lawsuit in which Vogel represented nine North Dakota farmers against the FmHA.